Teach kids to surf the internet safely

25 March 2014

From PCs to tablets and smartphones, the internet is everywhere and too much can never be said about making sure your children are browsing the web safely. Here are Google’s top nine tips on surfing securely.

From PCs to tablets and smartphones, the internet is everywhere and too much can never be said about making sure your children are browsing the web safely. Here are Google’s top nine tips on surfing securely:

  • Keep computers in a central place

This will make it easier to keep an eye on your children’s activities.

  • Know where your children go online

If you have young children, you might have to use the internet with them. For older children, you could talk about what kinds of sites they like to visit and what isn’t appropriate for your family. You can also check where your kids have been by looking at the history in your browser menu. Another option is to use search tools such as Google Safe Search, which filters search results and removes potentially explicit material. Google Safe Search can easily be made a homepage on your browser.

  • Use privacy settings and sharing controls

Many sites that feature user-generated content, including YouTube, Blogger and social networking sites have sharing controls that put users in charge of who sees personal blogs, photos, videos and profiles. Using sharing controls is particularly important when you or your children share personal information such as names, addresses or phone numbers on public sites. Teach your children to respect the privacy of friends and family by not identifying people by name in public profiles and in pictures.

  • Protect passwords

Remind your children not to give out their passwords. Make sure they make a habit of unclicking “remember me” settings on public computers such as those at school or in the library.

  • Stranger danger

Teach your children not to arrange in-person meetings with people they meet online, and not to share personal information with online strangers because people may not be who they claim to be.

  • Help prevent viruses

Use antivirus software and update it regularly. Make sure your children avoid downloading from file-sharing websites and don’t accept files or open email attachments from unknown people.

  • Teach your children to communicate responsibly

Take the following as a good rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t text it, email it, instant message it or post it as a comment on someone’s page.

  • View all content critically

Just because you see it online, there’s no guarantee it’s true. Children should learn how to distinguish reliable sources from unreliable ones, and how to verify information they find online. Make sure kids understand that cutting and pasting content directly from a website may be plagiarism.

  • Teach internet safety

It’s impossible to monitor your child’s online activity all the time. As they get older, they need to know how to use the internet safely and responsibly when they’re on their own.

For more info and advice go to google.co.za/goodtoknow.

-Gilda van Schalkwyk

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