Talk to your Kids about Online Privacy

Online safety for kids

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Virtual gaming, social networking and online forums are an essential part of a child’s life as they surf, post, play and learn. Yet many children don’t understand some of the potential privacy pitfalls of these activities.

Rather than imposing strict rules or blocking access, experts advise that parents talk to their children about online privacy. Use these strategies to kick-start the conversation with your kids and help them make smart choices:

Know the programs and services your children use. Make it a habit to talk to your kids about what they’re doing online. Try out their favourite games, create a profile on their social networking sites, and download the music they love. You’ll get a better understanding of what personal information they’re sharing.

Teach your children their personal information is valuable. Kids need to know that many people and companies want their personal information to sell or market products. Talk with your child about the personal information they share to play online games, fill out an online quiz or shop online. Together you can discuss ways to limit the amount of personal information shared by completing only required fields, using pseudonyms and using incomplete information.

Remind your kids to think before they click. It only takes a second to post a comment or photo on the internet, but it’s nearly impossible to delete it. Remind your children to think twice about every piece of personal information they post online and ask that they only share items they would be comfortable with the whole world seeing.

Be there for them if they make a mistake. Stay calm if your child makes an online privacy mistake, like posting something they shouldn’t have. Help them remove the post, where possible, and talk about how they can avoid a similar situation in the future.

Above all, set a good example. Just as you respect your friends when posting photos or other items that contain their personal information, respect your kids’ personal information too. Be a good role model ( your kids are looking to you to see what kind of information is okay to post.

Find more tips online at priv.gc.ca.

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