This month marks the annual National Internet Safety Month, put in place to increase awareness about online dangers that children may face. This month was created to help educate parents and kids about possible risks involved with going online. Kids’ increased use of social networks and time spent online presents opportunities and advantages never available until now, but it also creates new threats. Initiatives like National Internet Safety Month help raise awareness of these unprecedented dangers, including:
- Cyberbullying through wall posts and comments, private online messages and chat, or social gaming sites
- Online predators or sex offenders trying to contact kids
- Sharing nude or inappropriate photos by sending them via text or over the Internet
- Oversharing personal information online such as one’s address or phone number
- Causing damage to one’s online reputation by sending or posting something inappropriate
- Communicating with strangers via instant messaging, chat rooms and other forms of instant online communication
Some parents may be hesitant or afraid to talk to their kids about these dangers because they don’t want to scare them. But by having an open dialogue – and a solid understanding of potential risks – parents can help educate their kids about these dangers so that they can truly reap the benefits of the online world. Rather than avoiding certain topics, educate your kids and supply them with the tools they need to have a safe, private, and positive online experience.
How do you educate your kids about online risks and dangers?