Have you thought about how to keep your kids safe online? If so, you aren’t alone! I recently took Colin out of school to attend Google for Education’s Be Internet Awesome Experience in San Antonio so he could absorb as much knowledge as possible about internet safety. I sincerely believe that knowledge is power and it’s better to teach kids about the ‘scary stuff’ then allow them to learn as they go – especially when it comes to digital citizenship.
**Full Disclosure: This is a compensated post for my participation in the campaign as part of Forward Influence.
I want my kids to be safe, confident explorers of the Internet. When we come together as a family, we can all learn how to have a better, safer internet with Be Internet Awesome. When we encourage our kids play Interland, they’ll have more chances to learn about internet safety in a secure environment.
Tips for Internet Safety and Digital Citizenship –
Be Internet Awesome focuses on five key topics to help kids navigate the online world with confidence:
- Be Internet Smart: Share with Care
- Think before you post. It’s important to know when to post nothing at all – not to react to somebody’s post, photo, or comment or not to share something that isn’t true.
- Protect your secrets. Do not share your address, email, phone number, passwords, usernames or school documents with strangers.
- Be Internet Alert: Don’t Fall for Fake
- Double check a site for credibility. Before you click on a link or enter your password on a site you haven’t been to before, check that the siteʼs URL matches the product’s or company’s name and information youʼre looking for.
- Remember that website or ad canʼt tell if thereʼs anything wrong with your device! There are scams that may try to trick you into downloading malware or unwanted software by telling you that thereʼs something wrong with your device.
- Be Internet Strong: Secure Your Secrets
- Create a strong password. Choose at least 8 characters and use combinations of letters (uppercase and lowercase), numbers, and symbols.
- Avoid getting personal. Donʼt use personal information (name, address, email, phone number, Social Security number, motherʼs maiden name, birth dates, etc.), or common words in your password.
- Be Internet Kind: It’s Cool to Be Kind
- Follow the golden rule! Treat others how you’d like to be treated, both online and in real life.
- Make good decisions when choosing what to say and how to deliver it. Example: Don’t type something online if you wouldn’t say it in real life.
- Be Internet Brave: When in Doubt, Talk It Out
- Found something negative? Say something! If you come across something that makes you feel uncomfortable or worse, report it – be brave and talk to someone you trust who can help, including a teacher, the principal, or a parent.
- Don’t be afraid! If you receive a creepy message or comment from a stranger, show a trusted adult, block and report them.
These are just a few of the tips you’ll learn but use this information and continue to have conversations with your kids about how to be safe online. Continued conversations will keep the lines of communication open and allow kids to ask questions or tell you when something feels off.
Furthermore, you can encourage your child’s school to use Be Internet Awesome tools in their classrooms and computer classes so our children get more exposure to having safer internet experiences.
If the Be Internet Awesome Experience is in your area, I’d recommend taking your children (3rd – 6th grade) to explore the 5 zones of Internet safety and digital citizenship. You won’t been more than an hour, though, so there’s no need to take them out of school if you can get a later appointment.