The internet has many benefits for children and young adults; it’s encouraged creativity, entrepreneurship, increased knowledge of worldly issues, friendships and improved academic growth. With the right information and safety precautions ‘digital dangers’ can be avoided and the internet can be a safe space.
- Use the internet positively – be kind, social, creative, inspired and have fun!
- Make sure your privacy settings are as secure as possible – encourage your friends to do the same, you are only as private as your most public friends settings
- Reach out to an adult if you, or someone you know, is having a negative experience online
- Report accounts that are offensive or use offensive themes
- Be aware of scams
- Consider the difference between banter and bullying – think about how someone may feel about the comments you post
- Reveal personal information about yourself (full name, birthdate, address, school) or others that could be used to answer security questions
- Make offensive comments or use foul language photos of yourself or others that you would not want family, your school or future employers to see
- Spend all your time online – although there are many communities online and it can be a great way to socialise, don’t forget the real world and people around you
Privacy Tips for Teens
Make sure all your settings are up to date – sometimes when apps update or refresh your privacy settings have changed often without you knowing. It can be difficult to know what information of your own is available to other people and how best to protect yourself – this website details some of the things to be aware of to protect your privacy. Step-by-step tips on how to change the privacy settings on your Instagram, Facebook and Twitter can be found here.
As well as changing your settings, you should also be aware of what rights you have online.
Checklist for Parents
(Source: Childs Net)
- Maintain an open dialogue with your child and encourage them to talk to you about their internet use: for example who they’re talking to, services they’re using, and any issues they may be experiencing.
- Create a family agreement to establish your children’s boundaries, and your expectations, when on the internet. A template agreement can be found at www.childnet.com/have-a-conversation
- Give your child strategies to deal with any online content that they are not comfortable with – such as turning off the screen, telling an adult they trust and using online reporting facilities.
- Consider using filtering software to block unwanted content. In addition to filtering, remember that discussion with your child, and involvement in their internet use, are both effective ways to educate them about the internet.
- Encourage your child to ‘think before you post.’ Online actions can impact not only yourself but the lives of others. Content posted privately online can be publicly shared by others, and may remain online forever.
- Understand the law. Some online behaviour may break the law, for example when downloading or sharing content with others.
- Familiarise yourself with the privacy settings and reporting features available on popular sites, services and apps.
- If your child is being bullied online, save all available evidence and know where to report the incident, for example to the school, service provider, or the police if the law has been broken.
- Familiarise yourself with the age ratings for games and apps which can help to indicate the level and suitability of the content. Also see if online reviews are available from other parents as these may be helpful.
- Set up a family email address that your children can use when signing up to new games and websites online.
- Encourage your child to use nicknames (where possible) instead of their full name online, to protect their personal information, and create strong passwords for every account.