How to teach kids to be safe online

How to teach kids to be safe online

No doubt, almost everyone’s life is on social media. Every now and then they are new applications popping up that allow you to share your life story online. What’s scarier is that kids as young as toddlers have access to social media and addicted to it!

Many surveys were being done in different countries. Here is a list of a few surveys and what they found:
1. A face-to-face survey done by Media Development Authority (MDA) with 1,200 Singaporeans and permanent residents aged 14 and below last year to study their media consumption habits in 2014 found that YouTube was the most commonly used social media platform for children aged six and below.

2. According to a CNN article, “What’s the average age when kids get a social media account?“, about 56% of the kids have some form of social media by age 12 in the United States according to the report based on a nationally representative survey of 1,786 parents whose children are 8 to 18. The survey was conducted in July 2016.

3. An article on TODAYonline dated March 2019, “S’porean children get first Internet device at age 8, among youngest worldwide: Google“,  showed that a recent global survey conducted by Google, children in Singapore are amongst the earliest in the world to get their first internet-connected device. The survey found that children in Singapore receive their first device at an average age of 8 years old, two years earlier than the global average of 10 years old.

Do you see the age of going online is getting younger?
Do you realize that kids in Singapore are having access to online social media earlier than in other countries?

So.

What is the appropriate age to give internet-device to my kid? 
What is the best age to allow the kid to go on social media?

Well, there’s no magic number to this. 

We understand that many parents sometimes use smart devices as babysitting tools as they may be busy with their work. We understand that due to the advancement of technology, it’s not that easy to avoid giving internet-device to young kids. Furthermore, schools are using online teaching devices as well. 

Therefore, we do need to understand that we have to teach our kids ways to stay safe online. 

We are very grateful to be able to attend Google’s Online Safety Park event where Lucian Teo, User Education and Outreach Manager, Trust and Safety at Google, equipped and share with us (parents) the right tools and tips on how to keep our kids safe online. There were activities for the kids to learn in a fun and engaging ways as well. Smarties learned a ton during the event too!

During the event, we have learned 5 things that we, parents, should teach our kids to stay safe online and now I am going to share this here with you:

1. Be Smart

Teach your kid what is appropriate to share and what’s not. Do let them know that details about family should be kept private at all times. 

2. Be Alert

Do not trust everything they see or read online. Be able to differentiate what’s real and what’s fake. Teach them to recognize what is a scam and learn to trust their own intuition.

3. Be Strong
That refers to the personal privacy of your kid regardless they are online or offline. Passwords are to be created strong, unique and kept private.

4. Be Kind
You have heard about the cyberbully. Teach your kid to be kind online so as to create a safer and brighter place for everyone and not spread harmful or damaging messages on to others. Encourage your kid to speak up if he/she encounters a bully.

5. Be Brave
Have open communication with your kid and let them know that you are always there to support them so that if your kid encounters something questionable online, they will come and talk to you.

Although it is important to teach our kids the right values on using the Internet, parents are also concerned about the time spent online. As you are aware that the more time spent online, the more it leads to potential risk, especially on health. Therefore it is good to limit your kid the time spent online.

More tips on how to limit the use of internet devices? Do check outThe positive and negative impact of gadgets and its solutionswhere it also shares a list of parental controls. 

More internet safety tips for parents to guide their kids? Then check out “Helping children to be smart, confident explorers of the online world“.

Do you have tips to share on how to keep our kids stay safe on the internet?
Feel free to share with us. We would definitely love to learn more from you too!

 

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