7 tips for teaching children to protect themselves on the Internet

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It is a fact that children are surfing the Internet earlier and earlier. But while this tool can be very distracting or contain rather interesting information, the dangers are indeed present … To avoid them, it is important to teach our children to protect themselves.

Whether your child has a tablet, smartphone or computer, they certainly spend some time on the internet. It must be said that we can find so many cool things to occupy the children: song, dance, lessons of all kinds, cooking recipes, games … It is also a good way to stay in touch with friends or even family. We can therefore say that the Internet has been as useful to children as it is to adults during confinement.

And if the parents did their best to manage the use of screens in the most reasoned way possible during this particular period, the family allowances fund of the UCM announced that the time spent by little Belgians on the screens had increased by 60% during confinement. Results that they were able to analyze following a study carried out among many Belgian families at the end of their quarantine.

7 tips to give to your child to protect him on the Internet

If prohibiting children from accessing the Internet today seems impossible, it is however important to give them the tools to protect themselves as much as possible and avoid risks.

1. Understand that nothing is private on the Internet

The first thing to do is to explain to your child that everything they share on the Internet may be seen by millions of people, but most of all that it is very difficult to make a photo or a video disappear once that it was published on the net. It is therefore very important to think carefully before sharing anything. Explain to him that, for example, he must not share his password (s), his address, his telephone number or even intimate or compromising photos or videos … And if he has any doubts about what he can do or not, that he should especially not hesitate to talk to you about it beforehand. Be clear that what is private should be kept private, even if her classmate tells her to share it.

2. Find a password that’s hard to find

To properly secure your child’s devices and accounts (email, social media, etc.), help them find a password that’s pretty complicated to crack, but most importantly, explain to them what a password is. good password: avoid their own first name or birthday and choose one that includes letters, numbers and special characters.

3. Be vigilant on social networks

We explained it to you in this article, social networks are only officially accessible to young people from the age of 13. This does not prevent many children under the legal age from registering anyway! Whether you make the decision to give access to Facebook, Tiktok or Instagram at the legal age or a little earlier, a tip: create an account with your child and choose a nickname rather than their real name. It can be a diminutive, his favorite nickname, the name of his favorite animal, or any other name he likes. Add your child’s profile to your friends list or follow their account. Do not hesitate to regularly check what he publishes online, in order to analyze his way of consuming social networks. If either post seems dangerous to you, don’t hesitate to talk to him in a benevolent way.

4. Watch out for instant messengers

Messenger, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Instagram … if it is possible to start so-called “private” discussions on these platforms, it is important to explain to them that their conversations are not completely, and that traces of these are stored by these same platforms, or may be hacked. This is the reason why he should never share personal information there, such as his bank account number, his address or other, especially with people he does not know or little.

5. Public Wi-Fi is not secure

When they’re not at home, teens love to connect anywhere using public Wi-Fi. But beware, if these networks allow you not to use your own data, they are not secure. This is why, without a Virtual Private Network (VPN), it is better not to connect to a public network.

6. Use caution when downloading a game

If kids love to download new apps or go online to play, it’s not uncommon to find many “bogus games” on the Internet, which can damage your system or hack into your devices. Do not hesitate to place a parental control which will send you an alert when your child wishes to install a new game, which you will have to validate so that the application is actually installed on his tablet or smartphone.

7. Never respond to emails with free offers

Does your child have an email address? So teach it to recognize spam. Because yes, fraudulent emails are numerous and daily, and mainly intended to collect personal information, to extract money or to hack you. Explain to him what spam is, possibly show him one. Then, teach him to systematically throw this type of e-mail and, above all, not to answer them.

More tips for parents of teenagers

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