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FACTSHEET | Sept. 1, 2022

Talking with Kids about Online Security

When talking with kids about how to stay safe online:

  • Use interactive tools to support your discussion and help them to stay focused.
  • Keep the discussion and instructions relatively short and simple.
  • Focus on how to stay safe online and reinforce kids should only be online when a parent or guardian is helping them.
  • Help them to understand and commit to not sharing personal information with anyone they meet online. This includes their real name,address, phone number, financial information, school name, passwords, or other private information.
  • Emphasize that they should talk openly with their parents or guardian about what they see online and always tell them if anyone online asks them for personal information or makes them feel uncomfortable.
  • Ask them to commit to never meeting in person with someone they met online.
  • Emphasize that they should follow family and school rules about online safety.
  • Engage them in the discussion by consistently asking for their feedback.
  • Find out what they know so that you can spend time reinforcing key concepts that keep them safe and build on their understanding of what it means to be a “good digital citizen.”

Being a “good digital citizen” includes:

  • Posting only what you would feel comfortable with the whole world seeing or knowing.
  • Never using the Internet to spread gossip, bully, or hurt someone’s reputation.
  • Understanding what security tools are available to protect yourself, your personal information,and your computer from identity theft, viruses, spyware, and spam.
  • Understanding that you are in charge of your online experience and managing it the way you manage the real world. If something or someone online makes you feel uncomfortable, you have the right to not respond and delete posts.
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