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How to Talk to Your Kids About Internet Safety

The internet has become an integral part of our modern world. Even more so when it serves as an educational resource for our children. We want them to be safe when using this resource, so here are some ideas of how to talk to them about internet safety.

Talking to strangers

Any conversation about internet safety should start by reinforcing that your child needs to be cautious about whom they speak with online. This applies to both those contacts they know and the ones they don’t. If an online interaction feels off or makes them uncomfortable, advise them to shut it down immediately.

Stress upon your child that under no circumstances should they share any personal details.

Is your child is using online chat platforms or speaking to others in game chat rooms? If so, they should create a username that cannot be connected directly to them. Apart from being a safer option, it is also a fun opportunity for them to express their creativity by coming up with a unique alias.

Safe search and parental controls

Set up parental controls on any online platform your child is using – from Google to Steam to YouTube. This will give you peace of mind knowing that you are reducing their access to harmful material and ensuring their safety online.

Discuss this measure with your children and explain the reasons why. Tell them that it is not because of their behaviour, but rather the behaviour of others online. This will help them understand the risks associated with internet usage.

Knowledge is power

When talking to your child about internet safety, they’re invariably going to have questions, so it’s good to be prepared. The best way to do this is to read up on the subject and know your way around the internet to avoid being thrown by what they ask.

If you are looking for a good place to start, we recommend this informational booklet on Keeping Children Safe Online from the international educational publisher, Twinkl. It summarises everything in this article very well and includes some other great information too. It also has information to connect you to some relevant organisations if you need more support and advice.

Read our feature on social media dangers and the law. Plus, find out if your child is ready for a smartphone.

Find a way that works for you

Please be aware that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to any form of internet safety education. The best thing you can do for your children is to stay up to date with new developments. As the internet is constantly evolving, any advice we offer now, might have to be updated in months, even weeks.

Lastly, remember that if you know how to use it, the internet can be more of a force for good than bad.