Online Safety Rules for Kids
Kids of all ages want to be online today. Children of all ages learn about computers at school as well. Parental controls on Google and other search engines can filter out most of the inappropriate content. But you can’t guarantee that it will trap everything.
We talked about concerns about the TokTok app in an earlier post. But TokTok is not the only place that kids can come across unpleasant content. Of course, you can monitor your child’s use of the content. But can you monitor every second of their online time?
The best way to keep kids of all ages safe online is to teach them online safety rules from an early age. They must know that they can talk to their parents about what they see online. And, they must know what is acceptable and what is not. But what If you are not sure what to tell your children about internet safety? Here are 10 online safety rules for kids to give you some ideas.
1. Tell Your Parents If You See Anything that Makes You Feel Uncomfortable
The first of the online safety rules for kids is to talk about it if they see something inappropriate online. There’s no need to go into any details with young children about what they might see. What is important is that they know they should tell you if they do see anything that makes them feel uncomfortable. Then, you can act to make sure that your child doesn’t see that content again. You can prohibit the site the content was on using the parental controls on your computer, for example.
2. Never Give Anyone Online Any Personal Details
It is important that kids don’t divulge any personal information about themselves online. Even to friend. That includes where they live, their telephone number, and their parent’s personal information. You never know who will see information posted online. Even on websites that are supposed to be secure.
3. Never Agree to Meet Up with Someone You Met Online
This is one of the most important of the online safety rules for kids. Children should know that they should never arrange to meet up with anyone they meet online. That person may say they are another child, but that may not be true. If a real-world meeting is suggested to a child, they should tell their parents about it. Then, if appropriate, the meeting should take place in a public place with a parent present.
4. Don’t Post Pictures of Yourself Online
Children should not post pictures of themselves online, or pictures of anyone else, before asking their parents. Then, parents can make sure that the pictures are appropriate and that they are being posted on an appropriate platform.
5. Never Download or Install Anything Without First Asking for Permission
Downloading software and other files can infect a computer with viruses, or worse. The “no downloading” rule will also stop your child downloading apps and software before you get a chance to check them out first.
6. Don’t Reply to Any Messages That Upset You or Make you Feel Uncomfortable.
If a child sees any messages or comments that upsets them or makes them feel uncomfortable, they should not reply to them. Instead, they should show the message to their parents. Unpleasant messages might be nasty comments from internet trolls. Or, they could be something more sinister. Either way, replying may result in more messages of the same nature. The way to deal with nasty messages is to block the user, report the user to the relevant platform, or prohibit your child using that platform again. The approach you take will depend on the type of message. In very extreme cases, you should report the messages to the police.
7. Don’t Say Anything Online That You Wouldn’t Say in Front of Your Parents
It is important for children to know that they need to be good online citizens too. Just as they wouldn’t want to receive nasty messages or comments themselves, they shouldn’t send them either. The simple online safety rule is to not do anything that would hurt, offend or upset another person. And, of course, don’t do anything that is against the law.
8. Don’t Go Online Outside of The Times That You Are Allowed To
It is generally accepted that kids should have their online time limited. If you don’t limit the times a child can be online, some kids would never be off their computers or phones. As children get older, they won’t want their parents looking over their shoulder every time they go online. But, if you have set times for going online, at least you can be there to take a peek at what your kids are viewing from time to time.
9. Do Not Tell Anyone Your Passwords
Kids’ online passwords should be secret from everyone except their parents. Even from a child’s best friend. If passwords become public knowledge, anything could be posted under your child’s name. It could also give someone access to confidential information about your child.
10. If You Have Any Questions About What You See Online; Ask Your Parents
The internet provides a wonderful learning opportunity for kids. But it can raise lots of questions. Some of those questions might be the awkward kind too! It is important, though, that children know they can ask their parents about anything they see and read online. That both enhances the learning experience, and it keeps you abreast of what your kids are looking at.
Many thanks for reading our online safety rules for kids. If you found it useful, please do share it with other parents on your social media accounts.
One of our readers also brought this Guide for Protecting Your Child on the Internet to our attention that you may find useful. Our thanks to Jane for sharing this information with us.
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