We live in interesting times, in which technology is evolving at such a dizzying pace that it is easy to miss a train. Our children, however, are inside these trains.
“Never take candy from strangers” and “do not talk to strangers” were the usual watchwords from fathers only twenty years ago. Today it is not that we live in a more dangerous world, it is that some hazards have become more sophisticated (child pornography), and others simply have been identified and labeled (bullying).
The dark side of technology is that it provides new ways to commit old crimes, and some of them threaten our children because they share the same media with the criminals. Every day we hear words such as cyberbullying, sexting, grooming, and others who either seem to be very far away because our children are still young, or just produce a fear only comparable to our ignorance.
If we want to protect our children we have to catch up with all this. We will not get very far by just ignoring reality or prohibiting the use of the Internet or mobile devices.
Our mission as parents and educators is to learn what is necessary to accompany our children, advise them and educate them on the proper use of internet and technology, both to protect them and to prevent the misuse of it to harm others.
They must be taught to respect others, to preserve their privacy and to communicate safely and responsibly, knowing the environment and risks.
Some tips for parents and educators
- Your children must understand that the Internet is a worldwide tool. Although it is a great tool and increasingly indispensable, many people are not who they say they are and that includes the bad guys.
- Convey to your children the importance of maintaining your privacy. Teach them to never post or share data, photos or videos that they are not ready to hang on the school board or on posters around the neighborhood. You must be clear about what kind of data can be shared and in which areas.
- Make them aware that they should not take advantage of the anonymity of the Internet to do things they would never do in real life, such as abuse, threaten or harass others.
- Monitor their access to social networks and chats, helping them to create secure user profiles and email accounts.
- Install parental control software and verify the privacy and security settings of your devices and web browsers.
- Make sure that the computer is in a common area of the house and lay down agreed rules and timetables to use it.
Safe and responsible use of the Internet: the best websites
With this selection of websites dedicated to exactly to educate and inform both students and parents and educators in the proper use of technology you will be able to catch up quickly with the concepts mentioned before.
NetSmartz Workshop is an interactive and educational program of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children® (NCMEC) in the United States that provides resources for teaching children on how to be safer online and offline. Aimed at kids and teens from 5 to 17, parents, guardians, educators and law enforcement.
Website of the Federal Government of the United States dedicated to online security, of young and old. Tips, articles, resources and tools for learning and teaching.
An online interactive learning experience. For our children to practice what they know about safety, respect and privacy, a great resource aimed at primary school children.
Fun and educational web about security and good uses online uses of the British television channel CBBC for children and young. Games, videos and articles on this subject for children and adolescents.
This is an educational game to use preferably in the classrooms. It includes videos, pictures and interactive activities developed around the cyber security of children and teens. Registration required to download the game. Very complete.
Excellent portal of the Ministry of Information Technologies and Communications of Colombia, to promote the safe use of ICT, with information and resources for youth and educators on all areas of danger. It includes a handy glossary of technical terms.
Initiative of the Spanish “Internet User Security Office” it is centered on promoting Spanish Internet safety culture among children. It contains educational resources organized by age groups for children and youth, and also for parents and educators.
The Center Web Internet Safety for children in Spain, whose main task is to ensure a safe environment for youngsters in the use of Internet, mobile telephony and information technology and communication
PantallasAmigas is an initiative whose mission is to promote safe and healthy use of new technologies and the promotion of responsible digital citizenship in childhood and adolescence. Information and numerous links that address the problem of all screens: internet, mobile phones and video games.