Digital Literacy: Teaching Kids to Stay Safe Online 👩‍💻

Digital Literacy: Teaching Kids to Stay Safe Online 👩‍💻

Isn’t it amazing how the internet has become such a big part of our everyday lives? In fact, it’s now hard to imagine a time when we couldn’t jump online for chats and games or grab information at the press of a button!   

Ellie Sparkles certainly loves chatting, learning, and playing games online with her friends. But she knows how important it is to be digitally literate, staying safe and switched on while enjoying this amazing resource. So here at the Sparkle Squad HQ, we’ve put together a few top tips to help parents teach their kids all about internet safety. The Sparkles can then make full, but careful, use of the fantastic technology that’s out there for them!  

Tips for Parents to Help Keep Kids Safe Online 

Talk to Kids About Their Internet Use   

Keep chatting to the kids about what they like to do, and are doing, online. Explain what type of online contact is ok and what isn’t, so they’ll recognize any inappropriate communication e.g. cyber bullying. Regular chats will make it easier for them to ask for help if they ever become uncomfortable online.  

Things That Are a Definite NO!   

Ellie wants to make sure the Sparkles know not to pass on personal information online, so it’s a ‘no’ to sharing full names, ages, addresses or photos. Also gently explain that they mustn’t click on links or open attachments without first checking with mom or dad.   

Avoid Online Strangers 

Just as we teach our kids not to speak to strangers on the street, explain that the same goes for strangers online. It’s a simple no to any contact with strangers.   

Set Some Limits   

To keep control over the Squad’s screen time, limit how long they can spend online. Keep an eye on their social media access too, and always have access to their accounts. It’s really helpful to get the Sparkles used to you checking their online activity from the very beginning.  

Make Use of Kid-Friendly Apps and Parental Features  

Set up parental controls which are common on many apps or make use of kid-specific versions of popular apps that provide limited access. For example, using the YouTube Kids app is recommended over the main YouTube.com, due to the kids’ app’s built-in safety features that allow kids to explore safe content in a controlled environment and parents to monitor what their kid watches. 

Digital Cameras   

Another safety control tip is to make sure the camera access on all devices is turned off. And it’s another  ‘no’ to uploading or downloading photos without mom or dad’s permission.   

Chat Rooms & Social Networks   

Always check the age restrictions on these before you let the Sparkles use them. Get the kids used to you checking in on what they’re chatting about, and why not set time limits so they can’t get carried away? And moms and dads, just be aware that even kid-focused chat rooms can have safety issues.   

Secure Websites   

Show the Sparkles how to check which websites are secure (https rather than just http). Teach them to use safe search terms and keep an eye out for inappropriate websites, pop-up ads, and so on.   

Safety Controls   

Last but not least, make full use of your devices’ safety controls e.g. firewalls and content blockers to protect the Squad from harmful content. And if you want to make your security extra watertight, there are plenty of add-on options out there to buy.    

 

So that’s our list of handy hints and tips for the Sparkles’ online safety … we know you’ll soon have this covered moms and dads!   

But one last thing before we go, here’s a great internet safety motto for the Sparkles…If in doubt, log out! Any hint of something that makes them feel uncomfortable, log out and tell a grown up.   

 

For more tips on internet safety, check out the helpful resources below:  

Common Sense Media: Online Safety for Little Kids (5-7 years)

SafeWise Internet Safety Guide for Kids

Kids Health Online Safety 

 

 

Leave a comment