During the year 2020, the internet served as a significant source of connection and support for many young people. During a time when they were alone and at risk of mental health problems, it helped them to stay connected to their social networks and finish their education. As the school year draws to a close, many kids will use social media and online games to stay in touch with their friends.
While it comes to cyber safety, one of the biggest issues teachers and parents face is ensuring that their pupils and children are protected from online dangers when they are not being actively watched. The answer is cyber safety education. We must equip children with the skills and confidence they need to be responsible, respectful, and resilient digital citizens, capable of making positive decisions and seeking help when things go wrong.
Resilience is an important aspect of online safety education. Here are three ideas to help pupils cope with online problems and bounce back in response to online problems.
1. Be proactive when it comes to privacy
Taking proactive actions to avoid internet hazards is always preferable to just reacting to problems when they arise. Students may keep track of their online privacy by checking the privacy settings on all of their accounts on a frequent basis, especially after updating their applications and devices. They may protect their accounts by using strong, secure passwords, change them frequently, and do not share them with others. Students should also double-check that websites are safe and secure before revealing personal information or making payments, and check social media profiles before accepting follow or friend requests.
Encourage students to take control of their online identity and manage their digital reputation by making intentional, educated decisions about what they share. Assist children in understanding the features and risks of the platforms they use, such as who may access their data and personal information and how to report improper or harmful content.
2. Update privacy settings
Kids should be able to control who has access to their personal information by changing their privacy settings. They can set their privacy settings based on their age, the platform they’re using, either they play online games or do assignments online, and the type of information they’re sharing.
Some apps, such as Snapchat, feature options that allow users to see their friends’ current location. This can put children in danger, therefore knowing how to disable location services is crucial.
The truth is that most of us do not read privacy policies or alerts about data collecting. After all, most terms and conditions are long and complicated, so clicking ‘Agree’ is much easier. These warnings, on the other hand, contain important information regarding your privacy rights. As a result, it’s critical that you read them to understand how the gathered information will be used and protected. Include children in this process so that they are aware of what they are giving up when they click the “I accept” button.
4. Teach respectful online behavior
It’s all about your rights… and your responsibilities when it comes to privacy.
Everyone who goes online has a responsibility to protect the privacy of others. Sharing personal information about people can be harmful to both them and you. Encourage children to respond with empathy, compassion, and respect in online interactions, just as they would in real life. Before posting anything, we should all think about whether or not the information is private. Is it delicate? Is it required that you share it?
Before posting personal information and photographs about pupils, schools must obtain consent. Parents should think twice before disclosing personal information about themselves or their children. It’s no surprise that if adults around them model good behavior, children will be more inclined to take privacy warnings seriously.
Following these tips will reduce the likelihood of things going wrong online, but there are no guarantees. Let children know that if something goes wrong, they can always turn to their parents or teachers for help. If they have any concerns, whether it’s about being a victim of a scam or publishing something they later regret, the first step is to notify a responsible adult.
Helen is a guest blogger. All opinions are her own.