Safe internet usage goes beyond reminding your children not to talk to strangers online. With the growth of the internet and the way it’s now entwined into our lives, the focus needs to be on deep-rooted habits. You must make sure that your children have the tools and ready-to-use responses to online events so that no matter what happens, they’re not placing themselves (or your family) at risk. Setting up these habits is easy and begins with three basic abilities:
Downloads are a no-no
Most kids can’t tell the difference between a legitimate download and a scam. It’s not their fault, the online world is full of things that will trick even the most savvy adult. The difference is that kids tend not to take that extra time to check the link or even read what they’re agreeing to. They want to get back to what they were doing, and if something pops up, their first instinct is to click ‘yes’. Sadly, that ‘yes’ may have just opened the doors to malware and viruses that will ruin the computer. Set a family rule that they need to ask permission for all downloads (and an adult will check it first) and to never click a popup. When you’re called over to give download permission or check a popup, talk through exactly what you’re checking and why. As your child matures, get them involved in this process so their safe habits extend outside the home.
Critical thinking is a must
Most kids think the internet is a magical place and can’t imagine their life without it. With that acceptance though, comes trust that the internet would never hurt them. We adults know better. The best way to keep kids safe is to teach them to approach every position of the internet with critical thinking. Teach them to question the motives of other people online. Is that person really a kid? What do they really want? Unfortunately, all kids need to be aware that predators use the internet to target and lure children. Make sure that your children tell you immediately if a stranger makes contact. Alos tell them that if they come across anything inappropriate, they should shut down the computer and come straight to you.
The internet is forever
Kids have an overwhelming desire to provide to the internet; they don’t think twice about recording a video, jumping in a chat room or onto social media. But what they don’t understand , is that anything they upload, write or say is on the internet forever. Even if they delete it or use a platform where content self-erases, someone can still screenshot and send it right back out. Many cyber-bullying cases are based around this exact type of blow-back. Once your kids know that everything they post is permanent, they’ll be more likely to pause and think.
We can secure your computer and help keep your family safe – give us a call at 937-660-4899.