The internet provides children and young people with a wealth of opportunities for their entertainment, communication and education. But there are also risks of harm through the deliberate behavior of others online, and through exposure to inappropriate content. With children spending time online at younger and younger ages, it is vital that we explicitly teach young children how to protect themselves online. Most young children get the “Stranger Danger” talk at school, so they know about how to handle strangers in their neighborhood and in face-to-face situations.
As children grow up in an increasingly digital world, they need to be aware of the risks they face online. Everyone can play a part in keeping children safe and the internet industries have a particular responsibility to create tools and information to help. Internet safety policies and guidelines can help make the Internet a safer experience for your family members. Tips for children are:
- Always ask your parents’ permission before using your full name, address, telephone number or school name anywhere on the Internet.
- Always tell your parents or guardian if you see something online that you know is wrong or that makes you feel uncomfortable. Don’t respond to messages that make you feel uncomfortable or uneasy.
- Never give out a credit card number or password online.
- Never send out your picture without your parents’ permission.
- Be careful when someone offers you something for nothing, such as gifts or money.
- Don’t ever accept a gift or an offer that involves having someone visit your house.
- Never arrange to meet someone you’ve met online in person unless you discuss it with your parents and an adult goes with you.
- Talk to your parents to set up rules for going online. Decide with them the best time of day to be online, the length of time to be online and appropriate areas to visit.
- Get to know your “online friends” just as you get to know all of your other friends. Be sure that you are dealing with someone that you and your parents know and trust before giving out any personal information about yourself via email.
Boarding Schools can play a major role in this as they can influence children to be safe online. Schools and teachers can do awareness campaigns and make them use simple technologies available to keep them always from threats and help them use internet in a positive way as well.