This week English Teacher Online tackles internet safety for children.
Most of us want children to be happy and trusting but parents also need to teach children to be safe. Unfortunately, there are people who would harm children if given the chance. Here are some tips to help you be safe and happy in real life and on the internet.
A stranger is someone you don’t know. Safe strangers include police officers, firefighters, doctor and nurses, teachers and other adults who work with children. These adults have been trained to respect and protect children.
If you meet someone online that you don’t know in real life, they are a stranger. Don’t assume that online friends are any less dangerous than real life strangers.
No, Go, Yell, Tell!
If you are approached by a stranger and asked to do anything suspicious use this phrase. Yell “No!”, run away quickly, yell for help and tell a trusted adult what happened. Even young children can learn these four words and what to do.
Other good real life safety tips include; stay close in crowds, safety in numbers, follow family rules and always follow your instincts.
Good family rules for safety include;
Never accept a ride from a stranger.
Make sure a parent knows where you are at all times.
Don’t reveal personal information to strangers (including online).
Keep the door locked and don’t answer it if you are home alone.
Learn these rules and use them. Role-play situations where you might have to make tough decisions to help remember your family’s rules for safety.
Who is your friend on the internet?
On the internet, the word “friend” often means a stranger you have met and chat with ONLY online. If you don’t know them in real life, they are not really a friend and you should be very careful.
Identity theft occurs when online criminals use your personal information to pretend to be you. Often they do this to steal money or spread gossip.
It is easy to lie on the internet and people sometimes pretend to be older or younger so they can make “friends” with this group of people. If you are not sure about these people or if they send you worrying messages, always tell a trusted adult.
Some people, including parents, lie about their age so they can open a Facebook account, sometimes for their own children. Facebook rules state that 13 years of age is the time when children become trustworthy and can take care of themselves online. By 13, children have grown enough so they are less likely to be shocked by the things they may see online. They understand how to use privacy settings to avoid showing their pictures to strangers and the general public.
Whatever you think, it’s important to learn how to follow the rules and wait until you are old enough to do certain things. It’s difficult if everyone else seems to be doing the wrong thing. Be strong and remember to keep talking to your parents so they know what is happening in your online life just as much as in your real life.
If you have any questions please post them in the comment section or talk to a real life trusted adult.