As the school year comes to an end, kids will have a lot more time on their hands. While there will be plenty of time spent outside, the Internet will also be a huge part of kids’ lives this summer. It is good to keep in mind some Internet safety topics to discuss with children to ensure their online experience is a positive one.
Internet usage guidelines
Rather than telling them all the things they can’t do, have a conversation with your child about how long they are allowed online and what type of sites are OK or not OK. While you make the ultimate decision, show that you are listening to their opinions. Also discuss how to behave towards others when chatting, gaming, emailing, or messaging.
The importance of privacy
While this depends on the age of the child, a simple rule for younger children could be that they should not give out their name, phone number or photo without a parent’s approval. Older children should be advised to be selective about what personal information they include on social networking and you should always know what social platforms your child is using. Snapchat for example has a location feature that can be set to show the user’s exact location on a map to any of their “friends.”
Meeting online “friends”
The Internet can be a positive place for children to interact with other young people and ultimately make new friends. By discussing it ahead of time, your child is more likely to recognize if they’re talking to someone they shouldn’t be. This is also a good way to keep the dialogue about Internet interaction between you and your children open.
Remember that the positive aspects of the Internet outweigh the negatives and that it is a wonderful educational and recreational resource. Let your child show you what they like to do online and discover it with them.