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The internet is a powerful tool that provides children with endless opportunities to learn, socialize and have fun. However, with a third of all internet users being under 18 years old, online risks have become a significant concern and they continue to grow. Shockingly, last year, nearly three out of four children worldwide encountered at least one cyber risk.1

This is why it’s essential to start discussing internet safety with your children at a young age. By doing so, you can help them make informed choices and develop healthy online habits. Educating them about responsible internet usage, privacy protection and potential dangers will also keep them safe from risks. Remember, it's never too early to establish a foundation for safe internet usage.

To help keep your children safe, explore the Be cyber smart! parent guide to internet safety, which offers valuable tips and advice. As a parent or guardian, protecting your child's online well-being is more important than ever.

Consider these six helpful tips for keeping your kids safe online:

  1. Set some ground rules
    Help moderate screen time by setting boundaries for how long your child can spend online and what they can do. Screen time not related to schoolwork can be restricted to after homework is finished or to weekends. It’s also a good idea to keep computers in a common area and monitor your child’s activity.
  2. Restrict internet access and monitor activity
    You don’t have to be a cyber pro to protect your computer and children. Parental control apps and those built into devices, computers, and Wi-Fi routers are easy to use. These controls allow you to set access times, monitor internet activity and block website categories. Keeping an eye on what your kids are doing online will help to keep them safe. Use this as an opportunity to discuss with your child which websites are appropriate for their age group.
  3. Don’t give out personal information
    Remind your children to never give out personal information, such as, full name, home address, passwords, location or telephone number to anyone they don’t know online whether through social media or online gaming. To keep their personal information safe, tell them to create different passwords for every online account they have, and then monitor their accounts for elicit activity.
  4. Careful with strangers
    Talk about the risks of interacting with strangers whether through social media platforms, discussion boards or online gaming. Instill to never agree to meet anyone outside of the chat. If they want to have an ‘offline’ conversation with this person, they should tell you to arrange a safe way to meet.
  5. Pause before you post
    Teach your children to be mindful of what comments and pictures they post online. Explain that once it’s online, it will remain on the internet. This is especially important as kids grow up and are looking for a job; most employers will do a basic online search of potential candidates. Talk to your kids about their social privacy settings and teach them the difference between private and public/open chat rooms.
  6. Be a friend, not a bully
    Talk to your children and educate them to report offensive or hurtful comments to you immediately. If you suspect they’re being cyberbullied, keep communication lines open, so they feel comfortable telling you if they’re the target. Also, remind them to be careful about what they say, send, or post about someone else — unintentional bullying is still bullying. Reading or forwarding mean messages empowers bullies and hurts victims even more.

By educating yourself, you can better educate your child(ren) and reinforce good internet habits. Check out our Parent/Guardian guide to familiarize yourself with more ways to help keep children safe online.

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Be cyber smart!

How to keep kids safe online — a parent’s guide.

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