Cyber Safety for Young Children
As the world 'logs on' more and more each year, the most important lesson children need to learn is Internet safety. This is key for their own personal safety and that of their family. Children also need to be careful about visiting websites, opening email or downloading applications that distribute malware or install viruses onto the computer.
If you have younger children surfing the net, it's important to review the following safety tips as a family...
1. Limit your children's activities on the computer.
2. Keep the computer in an area where it can be monitored, like the family room, kitchen, or living room, and not in your child’s bedroom or the basement where they might always be supervised.
3. Learn more about computers so you can enjoy them with your kids.
4. Teach them not to become friends with people they don't know and never to meet online friends in person.
5. Watch your children when they’re online and see where they go and who they are talking to.
6. Make sure that your children feel comfortable coming to you with questions and don’t overreact if something happens so your children feel they are able to talk to you.
7. Keep kids out of chatrooms unless they are monitored.
8. Encourage discussions between you and your child about what they enjoy and do online.
9. Teach them what information they can share with others online and what they can’t (like telephone numbers, address, their full name, and school)
10. Get to know their “online friends” just as you get to know all of their other friends.
You should discuss these rules as a family and get your children to agree to adhere to them. Then post them near the computer as a reminder.
Sometimes, it can be difficult to engage in these types of conversations with younger children. Here are game sites and resources that can help teach them all
about cyber safety. Parents should review these site before allowing their children to access them.
PBS Kids Cyber Safety
The Webonauts Internet Academy game from PBS Kids empowers kids to make responsible and respectful decisions in their online interactions. Taking on the role of a Webonaut, kids explore a series of missions that teach key issues of web safety and digital citizenship.
Disney’s Surfswell Island
An interactive island where students learn about Internet safety with Disney characters. Students go on an Indiana Jones type adventure with Mickey and his friends as they learn about Internet safety.
Safe Surfing with Doug from Disney UK
9 comic book style games and activities that help kids learn appropriate behaviours online.
Carnegie Cadets: My secure Cyberspace Game
Developed at Carnegie Mellon, the missions cover fundamental skills such as how to spot spam, how to keep personal information private, and how to identify website traps, such as dangerous pop-up windows and forms that ask for personal information, as well as web pages that show inappropriate content.
Zoe & Molly Online
This Canadian website offers comics, quizzes, and activities that address risks associated with children sharing personal information and sending pictures online. Note: this site leans toward anti-predator in its message.
Safety Land by AT&T
Safety Land is famous for being a safe place where kids can have fun on the Internet while teaching them internet safety.