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12 January 2021

SA – Children believe the internet to be a magical place, where any question can be asked and answered. Scholars use the internet for their school projects as the internet and Wikipedia, are of great help.

Kids are not aware of things like viruses, malware, spyware, ransomware, online privacy, phishing, social media etiquette and any other internet safety issues you can think of.

HERE ARE SOME TIPS ON PREPARING YOUR KIDS FOR SAFETY ON THE INTERNET, FROM THE EXPERTS

  • Discuss safety on the internet with your children from the moment they start using it.
    • Young children might share a computer with their parents, and this provides you with the opportunity to start helping with online safety, by discussing the things that are there to protect us, for example, Internet Security Protection, passwords, etc.
  • Do not do things online that you would not do face to face.
    • They must be taught that talking to people online is still a real conversation with a person.
    • Children need to remember that what they do and say on social pages is captured forever, they need to be taught the implications and long-term effect of this fact.
    • They must refrain from posting personal photos, for example in their school uniforms and photos that could divulge their location.
    • They may never communicate personal details like telephone numbers or addresses.
    • Teach children how to lock down their social pages and be vigilant about their privacy settings.
  • Children should be taught to be very wary of strangers offering gifts.
    • Teach children not to open emails or links from addresses that they do not know.
    • If there are attachments to emails, rather ask if it is safe to open, do not just click to open.
  • Be vigilant and monitor what you can.
    • For little ones, make sure they are always accompanied by an adult when using the internet.
    • For the older children who have their own devices, make sure you set up their ‘clouds’ through the respective service providers and that it is safe.
    • Install monitoring software on all the devices and set them up to only allow the device to connect to websites you deem to be safe.
  • Spend time with your children, do not just tell them the rules.
    • It is important to spend time with your children, explaining the dangers of the internet.
    • Have an open discussion, where they can ask any question they might have.
    • Teach them in a practical way. Help them create passwords, long sentences, which are easy for them to remember, but hard for anyone else to guess.
    • You do not have to be linked on any of their social media platforms but explain to them to think of anything they want to post… “Would I still post this if my mom or dad could see it?”
  • Social Media…
    • They must make sure they know the person sending the friend request.
    • Ask to see your children’s devices often and look at the apps installed.
    • If an app is unfamiliar to you, do some research on the app, even download the app on your own phone and join in, to see what it is all about.

Apply the same rules online as you would in the real world. If you do not understand something, ask a responsible adult. If anything unusual happens on your device, speak to your parents about it.

Warning to parents as well, if you are not sure about the operation of your computer systems, rather contact an IT specialist to assist.

Parents should be actively and consciously involved in the lives of their children and educate their children with regards to the dangers of social media on every platform, whether they are able to access it via their cellphones or a laptop/PC.
Serious Violent & Serious Economic Crimes press release extracts

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