Today, we live in a world where people communicate more via internet than they do face-to-face. Nowadays, children as young as 10 know how to operate a computer and surf the internet. While most tweens and teenagers across the globe may have access to the internet, they don’t have the wisdom to spot and steer clear of online targets.
Therefore, it is the responsibility of both parents and teachers to give proper guidance to them about various aspects of online safety. Here are few things that children must keep in mind when online:
1. Sharing personal information: Children need to understand that sharing personal information over the internet is dangerous. Basic information such as name, age, address, their school’s name, photographs, etc. should never be shared online. Individuals or organizations with a bad motive can use this sensitive information can commit heinous crimes like identity theft, kidnapping and extortion.
2. Choosing a strong password: Children should never share passwords with anyone over the internet. Whether it is a close relative or a friend, children are advised to never reveal this particular piece of info. Also, the passwords they choose should be strong and ideally be a combination of numbers and uppercase and lowercase letters.
3. Avoid getting cyber-bullied: Although anyone can be cyber-bullied, children are most prone to it. They should be able to recognize it and avoid it at all times. Children should inform either parents or teachers about it and not participate in any such malicious activity; an important criterion of online safety.
4. Using social media wisely: This is the age of social networking. Naturally, children are the most active social media users. They should be taught about the do’s and don’ts of posting stuff on their profiles. Children should never post personal photographs or write anything bad against anyone. They should refrain from becoming friends with strangers online.
5. Avoid downloading viruses: Children must never download random files from the internet. Such files may contain virus that can crash the entire computer and even weaken the online security, thus enabling hackers to take charge of the computer.