In our tech-filled world, it’s becoming increasingly more important to teach our children and students about the dangers the internet can hold. Children can become exposed to anything from identity theft to cyber bullying very quickly. As parents and teachers, it’s our responsibility to not only make our children aware of the dangers but what to do if something happens. Here are a few examples of things we can do to help educate and equip our children and students with the information they need.
Keeping an open dialogue about the internet is the most important thing we all need to establish with our children and students. They need to be able to talk about what they see and know they have someone to turn to. An ongoing discussion also lets our kids know that they can ask us a question anytime they are unsure about something on the internet.
Educate, Not Regulate
You’ll see a lot of apps on the market designed to keep children safe, but almost all of them are putting parents in charge of what can and what cannot be accessed on the internet. There are a few problems with this method, though. The first is that teens are sometimes a rebellious group. If they want to see something on the internet, they will find a way to get to it. The second problem is that sheltering our children’s internet use ends up not exposing them to risks, so they will be unprepared to handle those situations when they’re no longer having their internet regulated.
The final piece of the puzzle is digital citizenship. We’re all digital citizens and we need to behave online the way we treat people in real life. Our children need to also understand what it means to be a model digital citizen. With the amount of cyber bullying that happen, we have a duty to teach our children how to behave on the internet.