Most children (and adults) spend a lot of time online. We are a society that is connected electronically to just about everything we need so even very young children know their way around electronic devices. As parents, it's imperative that we keep their online time fun, didactic, and exploratory and at the same time keep them SAFE. Since technology is always changing, we can't count on apps and parental controls to keep our children out of harms way.
We need to take measures as well. Setting online rules for kids is imperative and these 8 Online Safety Rules for Kids are a great starting point. Of course these should be customized depending on your childs age and what your family values are.
○ DON'T GO ONLINE WITHOUT PARENTS PERMISSION
Make sure your parents know that you are online so that they can supervise how long you are online as well as where you are and what you are doing. The purpose of this is to keep you safe, not invade your privacy.
○ NEVER GIVE OUT PERSONAL INFORMATION
Never, ever, ever give out personal information. Even if it seems like it's for a good reason. If you need to "sign up" for something, get your parent and have them check to make sure it's OK and then have them supervise the process.
○ DO NOT DOWNLOAD OR INSTALL SOFTWARE OR APPS WITHOUT PERMISSION
Never download or install software without your parents permission.
This includes apps on mobile devices. Not only can doing this jeopardize your families safety, it can crash your computer!
○ DO NOT GIVE OUT COMPUTER PASSWORDS
Avoid giving out computer passwords including wifi passwords. Even if your friends want your wifi password so that they can go online, you must never give it out.
Ask your parents and if they want to allow access, let them give the password out.
○ DO NOT ENGAGE IN CONVERSATION WITH STRANGERS
It's really smart to avoid any type of conversation with strangers, even if the site you are on is designed for kids. If your parents give you the go-ahead, make sure that you NEVER divulge any personal information.
○ IF ANYONE or ANYTHING MAKES YOU FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE, TELL PARENTS
If when you are online, ANYONE makes you feel uncomfortable, tell your parents. This can be anyone. If you accidentally come across content that makes you feel uncomfortable, tell your parents right away.
○ STICK TO THE RULES OF POSTING PICTURES ONLINE
Know if you are allowed to post pictures of yourself or your family online. If you are allowed to, be sure that you only post appropriate pictures and that you've set rules about where and when you are allowed to post pictures.
○ ADHERE TO ONLINE RULES YOU'VE MADE WITH PARENTS
If you've made specific rules with your parents about how much time you can spend online, what sites you can visit, etc., STICK to the rules.