Internet Safety for Kids | The Ultimate Guide for Parents

The internet is a wonderful tool that gives our children access to a world of information and possibilities. The internet is a staple in most households across America. According to the Pew Research Center, “as of January 2014, 87% of American adults ages 18 and older use the internet.” That means that almost nine in ten homes have at least one person who uses the internet regularly but it’s no secret that the internet can be a dangerous place.

With so much information available at our fingertips, it’s easy for kids to stumble across things they’re not ready to see.  However, it’s important to be aware of the dangers that exist online and take steps to ensure our kids are safe when they’re surfing the web whether they are at home in school or joining extra classes like coding for kids. In this blog post, we’ll give you some tips on how to teach your kids about internet safety.

What is Internet Safety for kids?

Internet safety is all about being aware of the risks that exist online and taking steps to protect yourself and your family from them. Several risks come with using the internet, including cyberbullying, identity theft, and exposure to inappropriate content. By teaching your kids about these risks, you can help them stay safe when they’re using the internet.

As a parent, it’s important to have a talk with your kids about internet safety. Here are five dangers of the internet and how you can protect your kids from them.

Internet Predators

One of the dangers of the internet is predators. There are people out there who will exploit children for their gain.

Understand the operation of Internet Predators

Internet predators typically target kids who are age 11 or younger. They look for kids who are emotionally vulnerable or who have a hard time making friends. They may start by contacting the child through a social networking site or chat room. They will complement the child and make them feel special. They may also send gifts or talk about meeting in person. Eventually, they will try to get the child to meet them in person or engage in sexual activity online.

How Can Parents Protect Their Kids?

The best way to protect your kids is to talk to them about internet safety. Explain that there are people who might try to hurt them online. Tell them never to give out personal information like their name, address, or phone number. There are some common tactics that predators use online to gain the trust of their victims.

Teach your kids to look out for things like:

  • People who want to meet up in person without having chatted online first
  • People who send them links without knowing what they’re clicking on
  • People who ask them for personal information like addresses or passwords

If you see anything that worries you, don’t hesitate to reach out to a trusted adult for help. You should also monitor their internet usage and know which websites they are visiting.

Cyberbullying

If you’re a parent, chances are you’ve heard of cyberbullying. But what is it, exactly? And what can you do to prevent it?

Cyberbullying is any form of bullying that takes place online. It can range from mean comments and name-calling to posting embarrassing photos or videos or even threatening messages.

While it’s not always easy to spot, there are some tell-tale signs that your child may be the victim of cyberbullying. These can include suddenly being withdrawn or shy around certain people, avoiding social activities or places where they might encounter the bully, or displaying signs of anxiety or depression.

What Can Parents do to save kids from Cyberbullying?

There are a few things parents can do to help prevent cyberbullying from happening in the first place. First, make sure they understand what cyberbullying is and how hurtful it can be. Help them understand that words and actions have consequences, both online and off. Second, teach them how to be good digital citizens. This means showing respect for others online and not sharing mean or harmful comments or messages. Finally, set rules for online behavior and stick to them. This might include setting limits on screen time, monitoring their social media usage, and being aware of whom they’re connecting with online. You can also reach out to their school for help in dealing with the situation.

Inappropriate content

Inappropriate content on the internet can take many forms. It can be something as innocent as a pop-up ad for a dating site or an explicit image that pops up while your child is browsing the web. It can also be more insidious, like cyberbullying or grooming by predators. Regardless of the form it takes, inappropriate content on the internet can be damaging to kids. That’s why it’s important to take steps to protect them from it.

How Can Parents Protect Their Kids?

There’s a lot of adult content out there that kids can easily stumble across if they’re not careful. One way to protect your kids from inappropriate content on the internet is to install filtering software on your computer. This software will block sites that contain explicit content or that are known to contain harmful material. Filtering software is not perfect, but it’s a good first step in keeping your kids safe online. Another way to protect your kids from stumbling across explicit content is to utilize parental controls. Most internet-connected devices—laptops, smartphones, tablets, etc. — come with built-in features that allow parents to block certain types of content. For example, you can use parental controls to prevent your kids from visiting adult websites or downloading applications that are rated for mature audiences.

Scams

With so much of our lives moving online, it’s more important than ever to educate kids about the different types of internet scams and how to protect themselves from them.

What is an Internet Scam?

 An internet scam is when someone tries to trick you into giving them money or your personal information. They might do this by promising you something that isn’t true, like a prize, or by pretending to be someone they’re not, like a friend or family member. There are a variety of internet scams out there, but some of the most common include phishing scams, fake giveaways, and malware. Kids need to know about these so they can be on the lookout for them.

How Can Parents Protect Their Kids?

Here are a few tips as a parent you can follow to help your child.

1.Teach your children never to give out personal information online.

This includes their full name, address, phone number, email address, and birth date. Predators can use this information to track down where they live or go to school, which makes it easier for them to hurt them. Even if someone seems friendly and trustworthy, they should never give out this type of information without first checking with you.

2. Show them how to spot red flags online.

Some things can help kids spot scams, even if the person trying to scam them is very convincing. Here are some things to look out for:

  • Ordeals that require urgent action
  • Promises of easy money with little work
  • Requests for personal information
  • Typos and bad grammar
  • Unusual requests for money 

3.Teach them what to do if they come across a scammer.

If your child ever comes across someone online who is trying to scam them, there are some steps they can take:

  • Do not respond
  • Block the person
  • Tell a trusted adult 

By following these steps, you can help keep your child safe from internet scammers.

Viruses

One of the last dangers of the internet is viruses. There are a lot of malicious software programs out there that can wreak havoc on your computer if you’re not careful. With all of the viruses and malware out there, it’s important to teach your kids how to stay safe online. But how do you do that without scaring them? Here are some tips on how to talk to your kids about internet viruses and how to prevent them.

What is a virus?

The first step is to explain what a virus is. A virus is a piece of code that can replicate itself and attach itself to other pieces of code. It can spread quickly and cause problems with your computer or device. Make sure your kids understand that a virus is not something they can catch like the cold—it’s something that comes from clicking on the wrong thing online.

Teach them how to spot a virus

The next step is to teach your kids how to spot a virus. This can be difficult, as viruses can disguise themselves as many different things. However, there are some red flags they can look for, such as emails from unknown senders or links that look suspicious. If something looks too good to be true, it probably is—teaches your kids not to click on anything unless they’re sure it’s safe.

Explain what happens if they get a virus

Your kids must understand what could happen if they accidentally click on a virus. Explain that a virus could delete important files, send sensitive information like passwords or credit card numbers to someone else, or give someone control of their device remotely. While these may sound like far-fetched scenarios, they must understand the potential consequences of clicking on something they shouldn’t do online.

Show them how to prevent viruses

Finally, show your kids how they can prevent viruses by installing antivirus software and keeping it up-to-date, being careful about what they click on online, and not downloading anything from unknown sources. Antivirus software isn’t foolproof, but it’s an important layer of protection against internet viruses—and teaching your kids how to use it properly will help them stay safe online.

Simple MANTRA to Teach Your Kids about Internet Safety

The best way to teach your kids about internet safety is to have regular conversations with them about their online activity. You must be thinking about where to start. That’s why we’ve put together this simple MANTRA that you can use to teach your kids the basics of internet safety.

M – Monitor your activity. It’s important to be aware of what you’re doing online at all times. This means being careful about the websites you visit and the information you share.

A – Avoid sharing personal information. Never share your full name, address, or phone number online without your parent’s permission.

N – Never meet up with someone you’ve met online. If someone you meet online asks to meet up with you in person, always tell a parent or guardian and have them come with you.

T – Tell a grown-up if something makes you feel uncomfortable. If you see something online that makes you feel scared or uncomfortable, don’t hesitate to tell a parent, teacher, or another trusted adult.

R – Remember that people online might not be whom they say they are. Just because someone says they’re your age or seems nice doesn’t mean that they are whom they say they are. Be cautious about whom you talk to online and never give out personal information to someone you don’t know.

A – Always ask permission before downloading anything. Some downloads can contain viruses that can harm your computer or give someone else access to your personal information. So, before you download anything, always ask a parent or guardian first.

Like Parent need to educate their kids and family member about Internet safety it is more important for Parents to be around them when they are in need. Here is a list of a few tips for your reference:

  1. First, make sure that you’re approachable. If your child feels like they can’t come to you with their problems, they’re less likely to open up about something as sensitive as cyberbullying. So, make sure that you let them know that you’re available anytime they need to talk. You can do this by making yourself available at specific times during the day (e.g., after school) or by keeping an open-door policy in your home.
  2. Second, try to avoid judgmental language. It’s important that your child feels like they can come to you without fear of being judged or ridiculed. So, when they do open up about their experiences with cyberbullying, try to avoid using phrases like “That’s so stupid” or “Why didn’t you just ignore them?” Instead, focus on listening and showing empathy for what they’re going through.
  3. Monitor their online activity. It’s important to know what your kids are doing online. Take the time to talk to them about the websites they visit and the people they interact with. If you’re concerned about something, don’t hesitate to ask them about it or look into it yourself.
  4. Set limits on Internet usage. Just like you set limits on TV time, you should also set limits on screen time in general. Too much time spent online can lead to problems like social isolation and internet addiction, so make sure they balance screen time with other activities.
  5. Keep the computer in a public place. Don’t allow your kids to have computers or phones in their bedrooms where you can’t see what they’re doing. Keeping screens in a public space will allow you to more easily monitor their activity and make sure they’re not being exposed to anything inappropriate.
  6. Educate Them About stranger danger. It’s important to educate your kids about stranger danger—both in the real world and online. Teach them never to give out personal information like their home address or phone number to people they don’t know. And explain that there are bad people online who might try to trick them into sharing private information or meeting up in person. The more you educate your kids about how to stay safe online, the less likely they’ll be to come across inappropriate content.
  7. Be aware of the signs. Unfortunately, even if you take all the precautions in the world, there’s always a possibility that your child could still be targeted by a predator. It’s important to be aware of the signs that this might be happening so you can get help immediately if needed. Some signs to watch out for include changes in behavior (like secrecy or withdrawal), changes in appearance (wearing different clothes than usual), and changes in internet usage (spending more time online than usual or going to new websites).

Finally, remember that YOU are not responsible for fixing the problem—but you can be there for support. Kids need to know that they have someone in their corner that will listen and offer advice—but ultimately; it’s up to them to take action against the bully. So don’t put too much pressure on yourself; just focus on being supportive and helpful in whatever way you can be.

You along with your family members can design a Family Internet Pledge. By taking this pledge, you’re agreeing to use the internet responsibly and to help keep your family safe online.

What is the Family Internet Pledge?

The Family Internet Pledge is a set of 4 simple agreements that families can make together to help ensure that everyone is using the internet responsibly and safely. This pledge can be different for every family, but here are some things to consider. The 4 agreements are:

1. We will not give out personal information like our full name, home address, or phone number without parental permission.

2. We will not meet up with people we “meet” online without parental permission.

3. We will tell our parents right away if we see something online that makes us feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused.

4. We will use the internet in ways that are helpful and kind, not hurtful or mean.

Once you’ve decided what you want to include in your family’s Internet Pledge, it’s time to make it official. You can do this by sitting down as a family and writing out the pledge. Once everyone has signed it, hang it up somewhere in your house where everyone will see it every day. This will help remind everyone in the family of their commitment to being responsible internet users.

Conclusion

The internet is a wonderful tool that can help us stay connected with friends and family, learn new things, and be entertained. But it’s important to remember that there are also risks involved in using the internet, especially for children who may not have the same understanding of these risks as adults do. The most important thing is that parents keep the lines of communication open with their kids. By talking to your kids about internet safety and helping them understand how to stay safe online, you can help them make the most of the amazing resources the internet has to offer while keeping them safe from harm and enjoying using digital technologies safely together.

At SkoolofCode, we take the protection of your child seriously during our Online Coding classes for kids and adhere to the guidelines established by the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). To build future-ready creators, we at SkoolOfCode believe in a holistic STEM-based coding curriculum that is personalized to fit the needs of each student. So, why wait and Book a FREE trial class today?

By Ms. Manpreet Virk, Head of E-learning and an educator at SkoolofCode with degree in M.Phil. and Master in Computer Science. She is passionate about learning and teaching young minds.