4 Critical Internet Safety Tips for Young Children and Teens

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It’s 2020, and that means one thing: You’re going to have a very hard time getting your kids off their phone, tablet or computer thanks to the constant innovations and opportunities made available online. However, not everything is about social media, online research for school or kicking back with a fun online gaming session – there are serious safety risks out there for your children if they aren’t informed on how to be smart about their browsing and digital habits.

So, let’s help you keep your loved ones safe while still enjoying everything the worldwide web has to offer. Here are some critical tips to share with your kids, regardless of whether they’re clicking a mouse for the first time or a tech-savvy teen!

Be Careful About What Information You Share!

We can’t stress this enough: Nobody should share personal details online that nobody else needs to know, especially your kids. That data stays there forever! There are malicious websites, hackers, and other risks out there that specifically target uninformed children who openly share information without knowing the dangers of doing so. We recommend restricting the websites they can access and monitoring how they interact with others online until they understand the importance of digital privacy. Most kids pick up on this quickly and are responsible online, while others tend to struggle; if your child is only just starting to learn how the Internet works, then you need to watch out for them and ensure they’re careful about what information they share. Better to be safe than sorry!

Don’t Just Click on Any Link

One of the most significant risks to innocent children browsing the web is the dreaded viral hyperlink, and there are a whole lot of them out there for them to click on. No matter how strong your Internet security is, you need to teach them to identify signs of spam or malicious links before they click on them. For instance, did they receive an email that looks suspicious with misspelled text, strange grammar and spacing, and a pushy tone? Show them the red flags to watch out for. As previously mentioned, monitoring what websites and programs they use is another proactive step to take, but you also need to ensure you can trust your child’s judgment for later in life when you won’t be able to supervise them. Try experimenting by giving them a bit of free time on their own once they start behaving responsibly, and if you can trust that they know how to stay safe on the internet, give them more freedom. All it takes is practice and proper guidance to establish safe browsing habits!

Online Gaming Precautions

Playing the latest blockbuster video game online with friends can be a fun way to pass the time, plus it can even boost hand-eye coordination and dexterity. However, how your kids interact with others online needs to be steered in the right direction. Not only is digital bullying prevalent on these online servers from others, but not teaching your child the rights and wrongs of interacting with others could lead to them adopting the same behavioural issues and negative traits. In addition, there are gambling elements that you should avoid at all costs – never give them your credit card information to buy digital content. Instead, discuss the potential purchase with them and verify that it’s safe to do so. Governments around the world are working to eliminate gambling aspects from online games where players can unlock special randomized content by paying fees, which is great news, but there’s also worthwhile downloadable content out there that provides plenty of long-term value (DLC for short) that can expand your child’s gaming immersion and enjoyment safely without exposing them to gambling elements. Examples include adding new areas to their game map to explore, quests to enjoy, and other experiences, many of which can also be enjoyed offline where there are no temptations to spend more money.

Social Media Safety

Social media is almost always the way a child spends most of their time online. Again, they need to be diligent about what information they share publicly on the various platforms made available, and they also need to understand that not everyone who reaches out to them is their pal, no matter how many “friend” requests they receive. The more they use social media, the more your children will be able to spot risks, spammy profiles and the like, and teaching them the importance of strong, unique passwords that are kept secret can go a long way in ensuring they have a safe experience.

There are so many important aspects of online safety for young children and teens that we can’t possibly list them all, but hopefully, these major ones help you guide them along the path to safer everyday habits. For added protection, choosing an Internet service provider with security baked into their packages is a proactive step to take. Learn more about KWIC’s web security features by contacting us today!