Technology is inescapable. It has become an integral part of our children’s lives, and there are so many benefits! From apps that help kids appreciate the arts to online virtual classes, technology is a great way to keep our kids educated and engaged. You can even visit museums virtually!
However, not everything is sunshine and roses when it comes to technology. I’m looking at you, internet. With the internet comes a whole new slew of parenting challenges. One of the biggest of these challenges is learning how to navigate kids and computer safety.
While the internet has some amazing educational and creative potential, it can simultaneously be a frightening place. As such, it’s important that parents have the right tools in their arsenal to teach their kids about cyber security. So let’s talk about it!
Why is cyber security important for children?
The internet has become an inseparable aspect of childhood. 80% of kids have access to a computer at home. On average, these kids spend about 45 hours each week in front of their screen.
With predatory viruses and hackers crawling around the web, the internet can be a dangerous place. Fishers are everywhere—and I don’t mean fly fishers! As children take their first steps into the digital world, it’s important they know how to remain safe while using this new resource. This means knowing what to avoid and when not to share their information.
It’s also likely that your kids will be using a common computer in the house. If you use the same computer, there’s the risk that an uneducated user (like your kid) will compromise your family’s personal information. Teaching kids about cyber security helps protect them, your family, and your data from being capitalized on. Spam emails and fishers are the biggest concern, but with the right cyber security education, your kids will have nothing to worry about!
How do you teach cyber security to children?
If you’re a parent, you’re likely wondering: how do I protect my children from inappropriate Internet content?
Start by having an open line of communication with your kids regarding cyber security. Let them know that the internet can be dangerous in addition to beneficial, and that they should come to a parent or teacher if they ever have questions.
Set up some basic internet rules! For example, maybe your child can’t use the internet without an adult present, or can only use certain apps for thirty minutes a day. Troomi phones are a great way to keep your kids safe and enforce internet rules. Our KidSmart™ apps are educational and creative, and keep your kids safe from potential data breaches. Meanwhile, the Troomi Parent Portal lets you create a schedule for your child’s device. Click here for more info!
Another way to help your kids understand how children can be protected when using the internet is to teach them these five internet safety rules.
What are the 5 internet safety rules?
So what are the 5 internet safety rules? I’m glad you asked!
- Don’t give out personal information. Remind your child how important it is to keep personal information just that—personal. Kids should not share addresses, phone numbers, birthdays, and even full names on the internet. These can all be used to identify your child, leaving them at risk to potential harm.
- Never send pictures to strangers. I’d even take this one a step further and tell kids not to have any contact with strangers on the internet! No matter how nice or innocent someone may seem, it’s always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to the online realm. You never know where those pictures will end up!
- Keep passwords private except from parents. Make sure that your kids know the importance of keeping their passwords secure! If that doesn’t work, remind them that if someone finds their password and hacks into their online school account or Roblox profile, all their progress will be lost!
- Don’t download anything without permission. The internet is positively dripping with viruses and worms that can hitch a ride with seemingly-innocent downloads. Remind your kids to ask before they download anything from the internet. If you’re unsure whether a certain file is safe to download, try a virus scanner like VirusTotal! This Google-owned site scans the file for viruses before you download it.
- Tell an adult if you receive a mean or strange message. Cyberbullying is a problem that many kids face. Remind your kiddos that they should talk to parents or teachers if they get a message that makes them feel threatened or uncomfortable. The best way to avoid cyberbullying is to confront the problem before it gets out of hand.
If your kids respond better to a visual aid, check out this video about the 5 internet safety rules.
Empower your kids to stay cyber safe!
Teaching your kids about internet safety may take some time, but it’s so important. However, the digital world doesn’t have to be a scary place. It should be educational, creative, and even fun!
Make sure your kids feel empowered by their new knowledge, instead of afraid! When I taught my first-graders about cyber security, they were so excited to go home and tell their parents about their newfound knowledge. Emphasize empowerment, trust, and respect, and your kids will do the rest.
And as always, keep an eye on the Troomi blog for more parenting tips and tricks.