Digital Citizenship & Internet Safety for Kids
If you use a computer or a mobile device to visit websites or exchange texts or emails, you are using the Internet. The Internet is useful and can be fun, but it can also be dangerous if you don’t use it wisely. Anyone who uses the Internet needs to understand online safety and the risks that you might experience. Following Internet safety rules will help keep you safe, and it will prevent mistakes that could lead to embarrassment, viruses that can hurt your computer, or other bad things.
Safe Internet Use
One of the more important rules for kids using the Internet is to never give out personal information to anyone online. Your personal information includes your address, your phone number, and your parents’ contact information. Criminals can pose as people who are just like you, making it seem safe to share personal information with them. A criminal could pretend to be another kid to get you to share information or photos. You should never share details about yourself unless you ask for and get permission from your parents or other responsible adults. You should also never send people photos of yourself or put them online unless you have permission from your parents. If an online conversation makes you feel uncomfortable, always tell an adult. Never accept gifts from someone you have met online. Never make plans to meet someone you have met online in person without making sure it’s OK with your parents first. If your parents say it’s OK, it’s best to meet in a public place and bring an adult along with you. Don’t buy anything online unless you have permission from your parents. It’s also best not to click on ads you see online because you might accidentally download a virus onto your computer.
Cyberbullying is a type of bullying that happens on the Internet. This form of bullying might happen in text messages, in emails, or through a social network like Facebook or Snapchat. A cyberbully might start a hurtful rumor about someone else, passing it to others through text messages or emails or on a website. A cyberbully might pass a private message or photo to others to embarrass or humiliate you. Sometimes, cyberbullies hurt others by excluding them from online groups. If you are the victim of cyberbullying, you should tell an adult to get help. You can report the behavior to website administrators so the administrators can delete or block the bully. If you see a cyberbully hurting others, step in to help stop the behavior. Often, just standing up to a bully is enough to cause the bully to stop. If this doesn’t stop the cyberbullying, tell an adult to get help. Save evidence of the bullying, such as messages they sent you or screenshots, so you can prove that it happened. You can also report the cyberbullying to your teacher, principal or to the police.
Online Safety Rules
Parents often make rules to keep kids safe when they use the Internet. Always follow your parents’ rules so you don’t have problems online. Your parents may set rules about the hours you use the Internet or where you use it in your home. Some families set up a computer station in the living room for online activity. Your parents may also have you share your login information for social media sites with them so they can keep an eye on your accounts to keep you safe. If your parents make rules about staying away from certain kinds of websites, such as private chat rooms, always follow these rules. As you use the Internet, remember to be respectful of others online. Always be friendly and don’t attack others or use bad language. And don’t do things that would violate others’ privacy, such as sharing personal messages or photos of others.
For more information contact:
Kimberly D. Fitten