Elementary Schoolers
Bullies & Cyber Bullying
Behavior Problems
Classroom-Student Behavior
Extracurricular Activities
Internet & Technology
Kids Health & Safety
Parenting Styles & Skills
Peer Pressure
Positive Discipline
Sibling Rivalry
Sleepovers & Bedtime

8 Tips for Kids Online Safety

By: Linda Sorkin, LFMT / Soul Empowered Coaching
No longer are the days we only have to be concerned with our kids' safety while crossing the street, walking to school alone, going out with friends unchaperoned, driving, or even dating! In contrast to the past, our parental awareness must be even more vigilant with the mainstream prevalence of modern technology. Our children are spending increasingly more time online despite the presence of technology already being a staple in their lives. They are inundated with several opportunities to explore social media and the massive cyberspace domain. Many times this happens without our consent or even knowledge of what and where our kids are traveling and exposed to on the internet. Given that parents need to be more mindful of online activity, we must acquaint ourselves with strategies to protect and educate children in cyberspace. We can never be too smart when it comes to guarding our kids and giving them opportunities to learn how to navigate and use good judgment online. There are several programs available to help parents with online safety and guidance.

8 Tips for Kids Online Safety

  1. Initiate a conversation with your children about safety and conduct on the internet. Don’t wait for your kids to signal trouble before you step up. Create dialogue to explain the power of the internet and how to protect themselves.
  2. Start young. Kids start using computers as early as four or five. Claim responsibility for teaching formative and appropriate online behavior in and out of the home.
  3. Set up parent controls that include filtering and monitoring programs on your computer. Remember, some phones have data packages where kids can access the internet on their own. Also, many new gaming devices are wireless and can connect to the internet. Be aware of what your kids are playing online when using an itouch or ipad. They could feasibly be connected to an inappropriate site, if they are in their room and out of your sight.
  4. Listen to them and assess their individual needs. Decipher what specific information they need to access on the internet and support them while surfing the net.
  5. Keep lines of communication open always. Discuss the difference between using the internet for entertainment versus educational purposes.
  6. Educate yourself about the pros and cons of social networking.
  7. Educate your child about the prevalence of cyberbullying, sexting, and social networking online. Explain the importance of learning to safely navigate the world of social sites and explain the dangerous traps kids can unsuspectingly fall into. Remind them someone’s image and or reputation can be destroyed with one devastating email, picture, or comment.
  8. Immediately step in if you sense your child is in trouble. Remind them that their choice to use the internet inappropriately can have dire consequences. The Kid Pointz reward system can help you guide child's online computer use.

Parenting Tips for Rewarding Kids Using Points:

  • Set up some family rules that revolve around online use and safety. For example, you can have online time regulated by behavior rules. If your children follow appropriate behavior at home or while using the computer, they can gain extra time on the computer.
  • Behavior rules should reflect your values. Let your child know specifically what you believe is appropriate and what is not. Talk about the importance of trust and how to gain trust while using the computer safely. If they clearly know your family’s values, they will be able to more easily handle difficult situations online when they arise. You can choose to reward your children with points if they act according to your family’s values.
  • Set up a reward for your child to permit additional time on Facebook or some other social networking site.
  • Points can be created and accrued for anything having to do with the computer. For instance, your kids can gain points for using the computer safely, within time allotted, with your permission, or even to do homework or research.

We can never be too cautious when it comes to protecting our kids safely online. Our children’s knowledge of how to navigate the net lies in our hands. First, we need to educate ourselves on the ins and outs of using technology safely. Second, we must ensure our children become computer savvy and understand what it means to use the internet. It can either be used as a weapon or as an amazing tool. Finally, it is in our best interest as loving parents to teach our kids to be smart, responsible, and capable when online. Along with open communication, Kid Pointz can help families reinforce the importance of internet safety.