4 Internet Safety Tips for Parents and Nannies
For children, the Internet holds all the interesting information they could ever want to know, along with fun games and neat websites; however, the Internet also holds threats to their safety. Unfortunately, you can’t always be there to watch over and protect your children. Before allowing them to use the Internet, make sure they and the nanny that works with them know how to stay safe. By sharing these guidelines with your children and their caregivers, you can teach them to have a discerning eye for the possible dangers of the Internet.
Don’t Talk to Strangers
As soon as children can speak, parents repeatedly drill into their heads that talking to strangers can lead to trouble. This applies just as much in cyberspace as it does in the real world, especially since kids are more likely to encounter strangers over the Internet.
While it is great to make new friends, under no circumstances should children be allowed to talk with strangers they have “met” online. This includes communicating through instant messages, e-mails and phone calls or in person. Encourage your children to come to you any time someone unknown to them tries to make contact over the Internet.
Don’t Share Personal Information
For adults, sharing personal information on the Internet has become common. In order to buy goods online or access the full content of some websites, personal information is usually required to set up an account.
Remind your children that they should never give out private details, even for seemingly harmless websites such as Nickelodeon or The Disney Channel. Stress to your kids the importance of asking a parent for help any time a site asks for personal information.
If you feel your children are responsible enough, you can help them set up their own e-mail accounts or usernames. Emphasize the need to stay away from e-mail addresses and screen names that are similar to their real names. Then, while keeping a watchful eye, you can let them choose their own e-mail addresses or usernames. When creating a screen name or e-mail address, John Doe should stay away from revealing handles like JohnDoe or JohnTDoe1993. Instead, encourage your children to come up with creative names like DoughBoy88 or JDlovesPizza.
Be sure to educate your kids on e-mail safety before helping them set up their own accounts. E-mail from scammers often looks official, so it’s quite easy to be tricked into opening these messages. Tell your children to come to you with any suspicious e-mail or message requesting personal information. Not only could their inboxes quite easily become the target of junk mail, but identity theft might also pose a concern.
Tell Your Parents if a Stranger Tries to Contact You or if Anything Makes You Uncomfortable
Children should stay away from anyone or anything they come across on the Internet that scares them or makes them uneasy. They may stumble upon inappropriate sites, or a stranger may engage them in conversation. If something they read or a person with whom they speak makes them feel uncomfortable, remind your kids that they can talk to you about it. Let them know that it is never all right for someone to make them feel uncomfortable.
Remember: Someone You Are Talking to Online Might Not Be Who They Say
Anyone can hide his or her identity behind a computer screen. Remind your kids to think of how easy it is to pretend they are someone else, like Mom or Dad. Discuss that if it is easy for them to pretend, then it is just as easy for a stranger. A person who claims “she” is a 13-year-old “girl” may actually be a 40-year-old man. Since there is no way for your children to know with whom they are speaking, again, they must always be careful to never reveal personal information. And, they should never send photos of themselves to people they don’t know. Also warn your children to be cautious when someone’s story sounds too good to be true.
As an example of taking similar precautions in your own life, let your child know that before you hired your nanny, you performed a nanny background check on him or her. This shows your child that you live by these rules too.
Remember, the only way kids are going to know about the dangers of the Internet is if you tell them. eNannySource.com can provide you with additional information on internet safety and other ways to keep your children informed and safe.