My boys are young but they already know how to use my smart phone, computer, and are pros at navigating the iPad. It’s pretty scary actually!
I have a few friends with older children and it terrifies me that they have access to so much. Not only do we have to worry about our children in school but we also have to worry about what they are sharing and who they are talking to online.
It’s important to sit down with your kids and explain that the online world is VERY different from the offline world and it’s never too early to start.
I’m already talking to my boys about it. Obviously they aren’t on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter yet but I hope that as they grow they will remember the important (and valuable) lessons I’m trying to teach them for when they do have their own accounts.
Here are a few safety tips that I’m trying to teach my boys:
1. Keep your personal information private: Teach your kids that they should never give strangers or share their personal information online including name, address, phone number, school name, and information about their family.
2. Think before you post. Most children/teens don’t realize that when they put something out online it is there forever. Teach them to think before they post. Have them ask themselves a few questions; Would this be something I would say to my parents? Would this hurt anyone’s feelings? Is this private information I wouldn’t share with someone passing me on the street? Also, make them aware that any text or photo they send can also be shared.
3. Not everyone is who they say they are. Help your child understand that some people, unfortunately, lie about who they are and that it can be very dangerous to share information with a stranger online.
4. NEVER share your passwords. The only person that should have access to their social media accounts is their parents. Teach them not to share their passwords with anyone, not even their closest friends or boyfriend/girlfriend. If someone was to “hack” their account, they could potentially share personal information or say inappropriate things that could get them into trouble.
5. Be smart! Having access to social media sites and the Internet is a privilege. If they go against their parent’s rules, then they risk the chance of having their phone taken away. Parents – set rules for your child and explain to them so they understand why it’s important to be careful when online. If you want to take it one step further, create an “online contract” with rules and guidelines that all family members must sign.
A really cool tool to use is Life360 - a Family Locator App (free) that lets you locate family members and quickly communicate with them. They have this available for Android, iPhone, and Blackberry.
Have any additional tips to share?
Disclosure: I’m a member of the Verizon Lifestyle Blogger program and receive the latest products to test out. As always, all opinions are my own. Read Life Without Pink’s full disclosure here