We live in the digital age and kids these days will never know a day when they didn’t have access to the internet. I want to talk about internet safety for kids. Often parents turn a blind eye to their child’s internet usage or don’t feel equipped to teach internet safety to their kids. Here are resources and information on educating your kids about healthy internet habits, straight from Google. It is a big internet and we want it to be a safer internet for everyone.
Check out what I had to say about my tween and Instagram.
How can kids stay safe on the Internet?
To keep kids safe on the internet you need to correct tools and information. Parents, teachers and friends can start with Be Internet Awesome from Google. This is Google’s FREE multifaceted program designed to teach kids the fundamentals of digital citizenship and safety so they can explore the online world with confidence. The program is available in English and Spanish and consists of an ISTE standards aligned curriculum. There are ready-made activities for each lesson for parents and teachers and the kids are going to love Interland! Interland is an adventure-packed online game about digital safety and citizenship. The free game looks and behaves like the games they already play on line and the more they play, the more they learn.
What does Internet safety mean?
Kids need to know what it means to be safe on the internet. They need to have the tools and education, in terms they can understand to keep their personal information safe, know what and when to share information, determine what is fake and what is true, how to build a strong password, know what cyber bullying is and how to watch out for others online.
Google has broken Internet safety down into 5 areas of Internet Awesomeness.
- SMART: Where we learn to share with care
- ALERT: Where we learn not to fall for fake
- STRONG: Where we learn how to secure our digital stuff
- KIND: Where we learn that itʼs cool to be kind
- BRAVE: Where we learn that, when in doubt, we talk it out
What are some Internet safety rules?
- Share with care. Be aware of what and whom you are sharing information. Keep in mind that people may not be who they claim to be online.
- Don’t fall for fake. Be aware and cautious on the internet. Just because it is on the Internet, does not make it right, true or good.
- Secure your secrets. Craft a password that has numbers, letters and symbols. Only share this password with a parent or guardian.
- It is cool to be kind. Spread positivity, kindness and goodness. Report and block bullying, harm and hate.
- When in doubt, talk it out. Stand up for yourself and others online and talk about uncomfortable or harmful situations with trusted adults.
Take the Interland pledge over here.
How can I protect my child online?
For my family, we have the motto ‘The Internet is forever’. For us this means that anything you put on the internet, social media and the like needs to be treated as if it will be there forever. I teach my kids that deleting information does not make it disappear off the internet forever. You never know who has already taken a screenshot, downloaded or shared that information that they just published. We don’t shield them from the internet but hold their digital hand as they proceed on a platform that was not around when I was their age. My thinking is that I would rather give them the tools, like the Be Internet Awesome program Google has developed, and let them dip their toe into social media and the internet with my guidance instead of keeping them from it and then opening the internet door to them when they reach a certain age.
For us, education is key. We can tell our kids no all day long or keep them off screens for years but when they leave our care after high school, they are going to be on their own. They need to know the bad and the GOOD the internet can offer and how to handle situations they will come in contact with.
Be sure to share this post as well as the resources outlined here with parents, teacher, community members and the kids in your life so that together we can have a better internet.