Kids live more of their lives online than ever before. As a parent, do you know how much personal information your child is sharing when shopping, chatting or gaming and with whom? Would your child know how to respond if a stranger asks for their real name and location or what to do if they witnessed cyber bullying or overshared in a photo or comment?
The best way to protect your kids is to discuss online privacy risks and develop your own house rules that set age-appropriate boundaries and help keep everyone safe.
“We want families to consider their online behavior and how personal information may be collected, used and disclosed so that children will learn to think twice before sharing any sensitive details,” says Daniel Therrien, privacy commissioner of Canada. “Having a plan that sets out the family dos and don’ts can help everyone work together to protect privacy.”
Start by setting aside some time to discuss internet usage. Talk to your children about personal information ( what it is and why it’s valuable) and together discuss how and when personal information is shared online through activities like gaming, social networking and online shopping.
Together, decide what rules make sense for your family and write them down. Different rules may be appropriate for different children based on their age, ability, experience and development. Rules work best when they’re framed positively and address specific situations. For example, “I will tell an adult if I post something I shouldn’t have.”
Post the plan in a shared place. And remember that house rules aren’t just for kids; they apply to adults, too.