According to sharedhope.org, almost three in 10 parents (29%) of parents let their kids use the internet without any restrictions or adult supervision.
Ontech Systems recently partnered with Momentum Early Learning to promote internet safety because today, more important than ever, it’s important to teach your children about internet safety, rather than keeping them in the dark.
We can’t keep our kids safe if we don’t know the facts. These are the top 5 myths about children’s internet safety.
Myth #1) The Best Way to Monitor Kids’ Online Activities is with Parental Controls
Parental controls are designed to protect children, but they aren’t 100% foolproof. Some kids figure out how to get around safety filters, while others become frustrated that the filters are too aggressive, rendering some internet searches useless. This creates an unhealthy “kid vs. parent” dynamic that might backfire later on.
The best approach to internet safety is to educate your children about internet safety by discussing respectful online behavior, the dangers of posting personal photos or information online and setting rules and consequences for breaking these rules.
Myth #2) Teaching Kids About “Stranger Danger” is the Best Way to educate them About Online Safety
“Stranger danger” out in the real world is one thing, but when it comes to online activities, teaching kids how to recognize predatory behavior is a better approach to keeping predators at bay. Teach your children to watch out for questions like “Where do you live? Do you want to meet up? What are you wearing? Are you a boy or a girl?”
Myth #3) Social Media Turns Kids into Cyberbullies
A bully is a bully whether online or off. The reality is that social media gives these kids a platform to act out on. A cyberbully is the result of something else that is compelling them to behave this way, such as a crisis at home or school. While this is no excuse, it’s important to educate your children about the warning signs to watch out for before bullying goes too far.
Myth #4) Putting the PC in a Public Area of the Household Will Encourage Healthy Internet Habits
If your approach to internet safety is strict parental controls, limited internet activity and strict consequences for breaking these rules, you’re missing a key step that is critical to healthy internet habits and your children’s overall safety.
Talk to your kids about the risks and dangers they might encounter online. Educate them particularly about the short and long-term risks of sharing personal information with strangers they have never met. Education is critical so your children understand your motivation behind these rules.
Myth #5) Posting Photos of Your Children Online is Dangerous
There are some parents who love posting photos of their kids online and others who think you’re just asking for trouble. What many people don’t realize is that social media websites make updates or changes to their systems that affect your privacy settings from time to time.
If you’re going to post photos of your children online, make sure you understand the platform you are posting on and regularly confirm your privacy restrictions are in place by viewing your profile when you are not logged in. Avoid tagging your children in photos, which magnifies their online presence.
Limit your privacy settings so only the closest people in your network can view your posts and photos or use private photo sharing websites like Picasa that require a login to view photos.
Online activities bring both risks and rewards for children, but education gives them the practical help they need to stay safe and get the most from their online activities.