It’s important that parents and children alike realize that there are no secrets online Equally important is understanding and respecting what that means. Finally, not only protecting your children from the openness of the digital world but teaching them to protect themselves, too. Here are a few things to consider:
Why should kids be careful online?
Child predators are probably the most important reason why children need to understand that there are no secrets online. Unfortunately, sexual predators and identity thieves, among others, use the internet as a tool to stalk and steal from people so details that were once innocuous no longer are; in fact, they often come back to haunt children and their families. Posting information about where they’re going, with whom and what they’re doing, as examples, seem like basic pieces of information when, in fact, they have the potential to be dangerous, no matter how safe or secure the site they are on claims to be. By teaching your children that seemingly harmless information can put them in danger, they’re more likely to be mindful of what they’re doing and saying online. Before they post anything incriminating, private or seemingly innocent, they’re more likely to think twice.
Teaching your children how to protect their information online is one of the most important things you must teach your children as you’re explaining that there are no secrets online. For example, teach them things like recognizing secure sites when using a credit card online, never telling strangers secrets or personal information and not putting anything online that you would not want someone else to know. Your child needs to know that there are a number of things they need to do to protect the information they put online, using security software and controlling privacy on the sites they’re on, such as Facebook.
Why are there no secrets online?
The internet is a portal into the lives of those who use it. It can tell you what theaters they like, where they shop, what toppings they want on their pizza and more. Hackers and Internet gurus aren’t the only ones who use the Internet to learn about people. The dangers of posting information online include being stalked by sexual predators, identity theft and basic harassment. Fellow classmates can use comments and pictures your teenager has posted online to blackmail them, embarrass them or bully them. Videos, Facebook status rants, mean emails sent in the midst of emotionally charged situations and compromising pictures can, and often do, come back to haunt people. This is not just something teens and kids need to worry about. People can be, and have been, fired over complaints about their company or boss posted online. What you say and do and the trail you leave behind is part of who you are. It can affect your present and future.