With a new a school year fast approaching, we need to jump back on the saddle, reestablish routines, think about parent-teacher conferences and after-school activities. A new school year also means opening up the lines of communication by talking to our children about digital etiquette and their virtual safety. Children are growing up in a 24/7 digitally connected world. What they do in school now follows them home and reaches them through their computers, tablets or smartphones.
As parents, we need to play an important role in educating them about online safety and the rules involved in utilizing the web. Rules like if a photo or comment cannot be shared with a parent, then it probably is not appropriate to post on the web, let alone have it exist at all.
We need to teach our children the power of words, the Internet's anonymity and the consequences to their virtual actions. With technology deeply-rooted in our lives, we can no longer afford to ignore the potential dangers that lurk in the cyber world.
Related: 5 reasons technology may be making kids dumber
Below are six important, time-sensitive topics every parent should discuss with their children.
Talk with your kids about cyberbullying on a regular basis. It is important to establish rules about appropriate use of technology (computers, smartphones, etc).
Cyberbaiting is a form of cyberbullying. This is where students taunt their teachers to the point of them going berserk, while having it all captured on video and posted online for everyone to see. I personally do not get the logic of completely humiliating a teacher, but this is an opportunity to teach digital etiquette and respect.
3. Internet safety
It is important to tell kids to keep their passwords safe and never share them with friends. Make them aware of the consequences of password sharing. Teaching children from a young age to protect their identities will more likely decrease their chances of becoming a victim.
Teach and encourage kids to think about who they want seeing their pictures and information posted online. It is important to help them be smart about what and where they are posting. Inform them of the consequences of sharing things that can potentially embarrass and/or themselves or others.
Studies have shown that about 1 in 5 kids have engaged in sexting and kids as young as ten have participated in the act. As parents, we are responsible for our children's physical and virtual life and well-being. We need to be in control, have conversations, monitor texting (if need be), have the sex talk and work with their school to get the message across.
6. Cyber crime
Emphasize the importance of teaching them to keep all of their personal information private when they are online. Teach them social networks often harbor identity thieves scanning sites and looking for naive children to victimize.
-By Jessie Nuez
For 28 ways to make your kid's teacher like you, visit Babble!
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