One third of the world's Internet users are children, according to a UNICEF report in 2017. However, little is being done to protect them from the dangers of the digital world and increase their access to safe content on the Internet.
Together, we can make the Internet a safer place for children by spreading awareness on how to stay safe as:
Children and youth
The Internet is full of beautiful and useful things, but it may become a dangerous place often if you do not know how to use it correctly and safely.
Think before you:
- Don’t spread rumors or share hurtful or embarrassing stories or photos. What may seem like a harmless joke to one person can be deeply hurtful to others;
- Think twice before you click ‘send’, especially if you’re upset or angry. Once you share a message, photo or video, it’s hard to control what happens to it. Managing the consequences would be very difficult;
- And remember you have the right to privacy – and so do others. It is not okay to log into other people’s accounts or to use their phones without their permission.
- You can change the privacy settings on your social media platforms to control who sees your information – and all the locations where you’ve checked in;
- Think carefully about what you share with whom. Don’t share personal information like your address, phone number or bank details. And definitely don’t share your passwords!
- If your privacy settings are not secure, anyone can see your information.
- Before you accept a friend request from others, you should have a look at their profile – and try to see who they are. Remember: Sometimes people pretend to be someone they are not, and it’s hard to know if they are telling the truth;
- Do you have friends in common? Are you from the same town? Don’t feel pressured to accept random friend requests;
- Check your privacy settings so that people you don’t know don’t see any information that you don’t want them to see.
Have you seen something that bothered or frightened you? Report immediately!
If you see something on social media that bothers or frightens you, you can report it. On all social media platforms, you can report a post or photo if it is unethical or offensive to you. Also, you can easily block people to stop seeing what they write and prevent them from contacting you or send you messages.
And always remember to talk about it with your parents and seek their advice on any issues you face on the internet.
Here are the reporting and security pages on the most important social networking sites:
Are you afraid of someone or in trouble?
Seek help immediately!
If you are concerned about your safety or something that happened to you on the internet, talk immediately to an adult you trust.
You can also call the Child Helpline for free from any landline on 16000 and talk to someone who can help you without providing personal information.
Parents and teachers
BE INTERNET ALERT
Don't Fall for Fake
It’s important to help children become aware that people and situations online aren’t always as they seem. Discerning between what’s real and what’s fake is a very real lesson in online safety.
Know the Signs of a Potential Scam
- If statements about “winning” or getting something for “free” feel too good to be true, they most likely are;
- Fair exchanges shouldn’t involve giving away any personal information;
- Critical thinking should be applied before acting or reacting online. Phishing attempts and efforts to steal information (like login or bank account details) could be through pretending to be a trusted contact in an email, text, or other online communication.
BE INTERNET STRONG
Secure Your Secrets
Personal privacy and security are just as important online as they are offline. Safeguarding valuable information helps children avoid damaging their devices, reputations, and relationships.
Learn How to Create a Strong Password
- Make it memorable, but avoid using personal information like names or birthdays;
- Use a mix of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, symbols, and numbers;
- R3pl@ce le++ers wit# sYmb0ls & n^mb3rs 1ike Thi$;
- Do not use the same password on multiple sites. Create a few different variations of the same password for different accounts.
BE INTERNET SMART
Share with Care
Good (and bad) news travels fast online, and without some forethought, children can find themselves in tricky situations that have lasting consequences.
The solution? Learning how to share different types of content (like photos, videos and news) with those they know and those they don’t.
- Encourage thoughtful sharing by treating online communication like face-to-face communication; if it isn’t right to say, it isn’t right to post;
- Give examples on what kind of communication is (and isn’t) appropriate;
- Stress on keeping personal details about family and friends private.
BE INTERNET KIND
Set an Example
- Always communicate with others applying the concept of “treat others as you would like to be treated”;
- Use the power of the Internet to spread positivity;
- Stop the spread of harmful/untrue messages/posts by not passing them on to others;
- Respect others’ differences and opinions.
- Block and report mean-spirited or inappropriate persons or pages online;
- Make an effort to provide support to those being bullied;
- Encourage children to speak up against and report cyberbullying.
Your children will face different challenges each day, but the only constant must be your presence and willingness to listen and help them with unconditional love!
Here are some helpful, and fun, resources!
Children can play their way to being safe online with Interland, an online adventure developed by Google that puts the key lessons of digital safety into hands-on practice with four challenging games.
Educators teaching online safety in the classroom can download lesson plans that have received the ISTE Seal of Alignment and classroom activities that bring the fundamental lessons to life.