Children are online for hours each week. They know a lot about how to navigate themselves around the World Wide Web. Many parents feel lost when it comes to the Internet. Most do not know quite as much about how to find information, or how to talk to people online as their children do. This can make many parents wary about having their children spend so much time on the Internet. Since it is inevitable that children will be online, whether for school or play, parents need to take the precaution of talking to their children about online safety. There are a lot of areas of online safety that parents need to talk to their children about. This article will help parents narrow down their discussion with their children about online safety with some of the most important areas they should address.
Online sexual predators
This is perhaps one of the most important areas of online safety that parents should talk to their children about. Online sexual predators are very dangerous and unfortunately for children today, they are very real. Parents need to inform their children that there are people online who may be pretending to be someone they are not. They need to explain that there are bad people who are looking for children that they can harm. Parents can explain that there are strangers online just like there are strangers at the store or at the park. They want to hurt the child so the child needs to be very careful when they are online. Children should only talk and chat with people that they already know from school, or church, or the neighborhood. They should never tell personal information to people that they do not know.
Parents need to warn all of their children, no matter what age, that they should never give out personal information to people online for any reasons. One of the top reasons, aside from online sexual predators, is identity theft. Children should be taught what counts as personal information. There are things such as their favorite color or food that is personal, but is not as dangerous to tell someone. Parents should tell their children never to tell someone their birthday, their Social Security number, their phone number, etc.
For older children, with credit cards and/or bank accounts, they need to be taught that they should never give out that information, and that they should always check to see if the website where they are entering their credit card number is a secured site.
Parents need to talk to their children about not opening up emails that are from people they do not know. As well as being very careful about not giving out information such as their Social Security number or account number, even if the email seems legitimate. The bank will never ask for such information, they already have it.
Viruses, spyware, adware
Viruses, spyware, and adware are online dangers that parents should talk to their children about. Children need to be taught about the safety of downloading programs so that they do not accidentally introduce a spyware or adware that could slow down the computer, steal personal information, or introduce a virus to the computer. Viruses are very dangerous and can cause the entire computer to eventually be worthless. People can steal identities and use other personal information from spyware. Parents should talk to children about never downloading something without first asking for permission.