How to Teach Children to Use the Internet Safely
The internet is an important part of our everyday life. No matter who you are, it’s likely that you use the internet every day — whether you use it for work, play, or both. Over half the world’s population has internet access. That’s a whopping 4.1 billion people worldwide. The internet is an easy, simple way to connect to anywhere in the world. But with the immense freedom that the internet provides us also comes a lot of danger. People get in trouble on the internet, and that trouble can easily leak into the real world. So how do you ensure that your children know those dangers when they invariably start using the internet? Here are three things you can do to keep your kids safe as they start using the internet more and more frequently.
Teach them about scams
Internet scams still catch people off guard every day. Even though it seems as if the media and law enforcement spreads the knowledge about scams so thoroughly that it should be impossible to catch anyone with them, it still happens at an alarming rate. People lose billions and billions of dollars every year to internet scams, and those numbers aren’t dropping; in fact, they’re rising. While scams are varied, the basics are almost always the same: someone wants to give you a large amount of money but needs a certain, smaller amount of money to do so. They might promise to send you their money after you send yours. Or they’ll send you a fake check, but the general process is the same. Teach your kids the formula for scams, and they’ll be well-protected.
In addition to general scams, where someone often poses as an official so that they can take your money, scams might take a more romantic approach in the form of catfishing. In a catfishing scam, a person pretends to be someone they’re not to start a relationship. In the long-term, they might be looking to get inappropriate pictures or experiences, money, or notoriety. They might be trying to get into an online relationship without revealing who they really are. There are many tried-and-true methods of telling if your would-be partner is catfishing. Ask for a picture of them doing something specific, such as holding a specific object or ask them to video chat with you.
If you’re still suspicious, you should use an online people search to ensure that they’re who they say they are. PeopleFinders can help you and your children with that! Whenever you start talking to someone online, you can use PeopleFinders to make sure they are who they say they are. If they’ve given you a phone number, use the reverse phone lookup to make sure the names match. If you have their name and area, you can check public records to make sure that they live where they say they do. It’s a great way to double-check people’s stories and ensure your safety.
Talk about online relationship safety
If your children start using the internet frequently, they might find themselves getting close to people and getting involved in romantic relationships on the internet. While these aren’t too uncommon — about 15 million Americans are in long-distance relationships — there is still the potential for danger in these kinds of relationships. The danger in online relationships is often different than what you would find in an in-person relationship, making it somewhat more difficult to talk about.
While there isn’t much potential for physical violence, emotional abuse often runs rife in online relationships, and teaching your children to recognize abuse in all relationships, including those online, is important. Talk to them to ensure that they’re good at spotting abusive tactics, and calling it out when it does happen. It will be helpful to them for both in-person relationships and online relationships, so you should be teaching them these general ideas anyway. Also, remember to be open enough that your kids can talk to you about online relationships. With your experience, you can help them avoid negative situations in the first place.
The internet is a vast place where you can find the amazing and the terrifying, and it’s common to experience both of them if you’re a regular internet user. But you can still teach your kids how not to get hurt by the dangers. If you want to keep your kids protected, no matter who they’re talking to, teach them to use PeopleFinders. It’s a great way to check the people you run across to make sure you and your children don’t get into any trouble during your internet forays.
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