Today we are continuing our series on internet safety. In our last post, we discussed the importance of introducing your children to safe internet procedures. As the title of that post suggests, we recommended starting this discussion with your children at a young age. It is important that they know how to keep themselves safe, especially online.
This post tags along to the last one. When it comes to your upper elementary school student, they should already have a solid foundation of how to be safe online. Let’s review the four basic rules from our last post:
1. ALWAYS GO ONLINE WITH AN ADULT.
2. DO NOT GIVE OUT PERSONAL INFORMATION.
3. ONLY TALK WITH PEOPLE YOU KNOW.
4. LIMIT YOUR TIME ONLINE.
As students get older, we can expand upon their current knowledge – the same way children use addition to learn how to multiply. We can build on these existing rules and add a few more.
1. SHOW YOUR FAMILY WHAT YOU’RE DOING ONLINE. An easy way to keep kids safe is to be aware what they are doing online. While students in middle school may no longer need someone to sit beside them, there should still be an open discussion about how they spend their time. Sit down with your student and have them show you their favorite websites.
2. KEEP THE COMPUTER IN A PUBLIC PLACE. This rule is really more for the families. If you have a computer in your child’s room, they are at a significantly higher risk for cyberbullying and stumbling upon adult websites. By keeping the computer in a public room, you can easily monitor their time online.
3. HOUSE RULES – BE KIND TO OTHERS. Your students should model the same behavior at home that they do online. They know it’s not right to make fun of someone in person. But, once their online, kids believe they can be anonymous. That is a myth…and one that gets people into a lot of trouble! (See the next rule.) Remind your student that they still should treat people the way they want to be treated.
4. UNDERSTAND WHAT IS CYBERBULLYING. Cyberbullying can happen to anyone…kids, adults, girls and boys. Just like bullying in real life, cyberbullying is when someone is being mean or cruel online and does not stop. A simple comment like, “I don’t like your outfit,” may not seem like much. And it may not be much. But when it escalates to constant put-downs, it becomes harassment. Kids should not only learn what cyberbullying is, but also how to stop it.
5. WHEN IN DOUBT, ASK FOR HELP. No matter how old a student gets, they should always feel comfortable approaching their parents for help and advice. If they witness cyberbullying or if a stranger tries to contact them, they should ask for help right away. If anything makes them feel uncomfortable or seems wrong, the student needs to tell a responsible adult right away.
Our series will continue with internet safety tips for middle school and high school students. Remember, you’re never too old to be safe!
Did you miss part of the series?
– Click here to read the introduction!
– Click here to read safety tips for elementary students!