These days children know very well how to navigate themselves around the Internet. They use the World Wide Web to research homework assignments, find out what is going on in the world, stay in touch with friends, and play games. Just because children may know more about how to use a computer and the Internet does not mean that the parents are not still in charge. Parents need to set rules that children should follow while they are online so that the children will be safe. A very important topic for parents to discuss with their children is concerning giving out personal information while they are surfing the web. This article will tell parents the information they need to know about how to talk to their children about giving out personal information.
What is personal information
First and foremost, parents need to explain to their children what kind of information is personal information. Parents cannot teach their children not to give out personal information if children do not understand what that information actually is. Personal information can include a lot of different things. Social Security numbers, phone numbers, addresses, account numbers, and credit cards definitely fall under the category of personal information. But so do things such as school and neighborhood information or descriptions, city or town information, family information such as the number of children and names of family members, passwords, pictures of themselves or family members, what the child looks like, or their age and birthday or gender.
Why children should not give out personal information
Children seem to be more trusting online. If someone they did not know were to call them on the phone and ask for their age, and gender, and their address, they would most likely be less willing to give this person the information, no matter how nice the person was to them while on the phone. But if someone, who is considered a new friend, were to ask them the information online, children would be more likely to give them personal information.
There are several reasons that children should not be giving out personal information while they are online. There are millions of online predators who make friends with young children every day. These predators lie, pretend to be a child’s new best friend, and get personal information from the child. There are many different scenarios, but the bottom line is that children should be taught that there are bad people online who want to hurt them. The parent(s) should definitely fit the discussion about online predators to the age of their child. Whatever the parents think their children should know about online predators should be discussed.
Secured and unsecured sites
For older children who shop online or do online banking etc, they need to be aware of secure and unsecured sites. Some sites are unsecured and are not safe for children to be entering in account numbers or credit cards. These numbers can easily be stolen and used by thieves if they are not encrypted or other methods are not used by the website to keep the information safe. Parents should explain to children about looking at the site to make sure the URL has https:// instead of just http:// to make sure it is a secured site.
If children give out personal information, especially things such as their Social Security number and their full name, their identity could be stolen. This is very dangerous and hard to clear up after it is done. Parents should explain the dangers of other people having this important information and that children should not share it with people online, no matter what.