Parents and teachers should avoid overlooking the dangers associated with the Web and the risks they pose to children. Kids today are fascinated by the Internet and extremely skilled when it comes to using a computer.
It’s for this reason that parents and teachers should be aware of the abuse that can occur via the Web, including those abuses inflicted by online predators, cyber bullies, con artists, even friends – and how to talk to their children/students about avoiding online traps.
Good communication is the key to online safety – parents and teachers should become allies to openly discuss various aspects concerning safety as children spend more time online, at home and in school.
Every child, regardless of age, should be entrusted with a certain amount of information around Internet threats and how to avoid them – it’s up to parents and teachers to discuss the appropriate amount of information to disclose to their children/students. BitDefender offers a few points of conversation that parents and teachers can use to start a dialogue.
- Parental controls are an important part of staying safe online. They should be openly discussed with children so everyone understands exactly how these services work to shield the entire family from Web dangers. Children don’t like to feel as if they’re being spied upon.
- PCs should be placed in an area where an adult can keep an eye on the monitor, for example, in the living room.
- When creating accounts for social online communities like Facebook, parents/teachers should study each site’s privacy features and compile lists of trustworthy individuals with whom children are safe to communicate with online.
- Under no circumstance should children meet people they don’t know; and if they must, then a parent or a teacher should escort them for safety purposes.
- Teach children to always end conversations they find uncomfortable, and how to do so. Should someone on the Web – even a friend – make them feel scared, confused, trapped, offended or threatened, make sure they know to find an adult to talk to about what happened, and how to stay safe.
- Help children identify e-mails that contain spam, obscene or aggressive messages, and make sure they know to refrain from forwarding these kinds of e-mails or chain messages to friends.
- Parents/teachers should regularly search children’s names together in a search engine to see what comes up. They may see information such as blogs they may have, communities they’re active in, and family background – this also gives children a sense of how information shared online.
- Know the chat lingo, i.e. P911 – my parents are coming; PA – parent alert; PAL – parents are listening; TAW – teachers are watching.
- During activities that require PC usage in class, students should be closely supervised. If they suddenly turn off the PC, quickly change windows, or laugh while in groups during lab hours, then teachers should look for inappropriate sites.
- And finally, students and children should understand that not everything they see or hear on the Internet is true. Information people give away about themselves is not always trustworthy and ill-intentioned individuals could use a great variety of methods to mislead children and even hurt them.