Parents need to teach kids the best practices for all their online engagements because sometimes the effects can manifest offline. These dangers include violence, kidnapping, loss of scholarships or even jobs in future.
To avoid these, ensure you teach your kids online safety regarding:
Cyber-bullying and online behaviour
A downside to technology is that is has given people the confidence to attack others online without repercussions. Ensure that your child knows that cyber-bullying is still bullying and that it can adversely effect others to the point of suicide. Teach them that if they cannot say something to a person face-to-face, then they should not say it online. Also, teach them to be kind to others online as well as identify and report bullies.
Keeping safe online
On the flip side, your child may also be the target of cyber-bullying and it is therefore important to educate them on steps to take if they happen to be attacked online. This is important as cyber-bullying can cause mental health issues such as anxiety about being watched or even depression due to being bullied. It may also cause self-esteem issues which may make your child withdrawn. Ensure that kids are aware of options such as blocking or reporting harmful users and sites and talk to you immediately they feel threatened online.
Trusted online content
Nowadays, there are thousands of sites that your child has access to just by virtue of being online. Some of these sites contain adult-content such as pornography or nudity while others contain graphic, gory details. To maintain their online safety, monitor which sites your kids frequent and make use of parental controls. Furthermore, ensure that they are aware of age-appropriate sites so that they avoid coming into contact with explicit materials.
This also includes being wary of online scams. Ensure that your kids do not share information that could potentially hack their accounts or even your card details.
Aside from being scammed, there is also danger of your kids being preyed on by paedophiles. Cultivate a good relationship with your child such that they are able to approach you with such information as sometimes kids may be brainwashed to keep this information to themselves. Some kidnappers may also try to locate your whereabouts by phishing this information from kids.
Digital footprint management
One of the most improtant things to teach your kids about online safety is that the internet never forgets. This is an old saying and golden rule that a lot of people have had to reckon with after their past online engagements cost them scholarships or jobs.
A recent example is during the Black Lives Matter protests where racist teens lost prized scholarships for making racist remarks. Therefore parents need to educate their children on being careful about what they post, share or ‘like’ online as it can have serious consequences.