Safer Internet Day is organised each year in February to promote safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones, especially amongst children and young people across the world.
To mark this occasion Google is reminding parents of some of the steps they should take to help their children to stay safe online:
1. Keep computers in a central place. It makes it easier for you to keep an eye on your children’s activities.
2. Know where your kids go online. If you have young children, you may want to navigate the Internet with them. For older children, agree on where they can and can’t go before they log on. You can also check where your children have been by looking at the browser history in your computer’s web browser menu. Another option is to use filtering products, like Google’s SafeSearch.
3. Teach Internet Safety. It’s impossible to monitor all online activity, all the time. As children get older, they need to know how to use the Internet safely and responsibly when they’re on their own.
- Protect passwords. It sounds obvious, but remind your children not to give out their online passwords and not to click on “remember me” settings on public computers, like at school or at the library.
- Sharing Controls Google offers many services that allow users to share information, from Gmail to YouTube to Blogger. Google has developed sharing controls in these products that put users in control of the content they share online, including photos, personal blogs, and profile information, by allowing them to share this content with as many or as few people as they choose.
- Beware of stranger danger. Teach children to avoid in-person meetings with people they “meet” online, and not to share personal information with online strangers because people may not be who they claim to be.
4. Teach children to communicate responsibly. A good rule of thumb is: if you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t text it, email it, instant message it, or post it as a comment on someone’s page. Many of today’s most popular websites have easy-to-use tools that let users flag inappropriate content that others post online. It’s important for children to know how to flag inappropriate content when they encounter it.
5. View all content critically. Just because you see it online, doesn’t mean it’s true. Teach children how to distinguish reliable sources from unreliable ones and how to verify information they find online. And make sure children understand that cutting and pasting content right from a website may be plagiarism, and plagiarism is cheating.
6. Use SafeSearch Many users prefer not to have adult-content sites included in their search results (particularly if their children use the same computer). Google’s SafeSearch screens for sites that contain this type of information and helps remove them from search results.