Digital Citizenship – Keeping Safe Online

I wrote an article for the Te Kura June 2013 Link Up magazine (see page 18) on digital citizenship. This magazine goes out to students and whānau.

The article is cross-posted here.

 

Digital citizenship: Keeping safe online

If you use the Internet, mobile phones and other devices, you are responsible for how you conduct yourself online. You are a digital citizen.

A digital citizen needs to:

  • Use technology appropriately
  • Respect and protect themselves
  • Respect and protect others
  • Respects and protects intellectual property.

How can I keep my children safe online?

Children and teenagers need support and guidance in keeping safe online and acting responsibly. Communication is key. Children need to feel comfortable that they can talk to you about what is happening online without being judged. Monitoring what your children are doing online is important, but it is not about spying on them. These simple suggestions might help you and your children feel more comfortable:

  • Make sure that your children have access to the computer or devices in an open space—not behind the closed door of their bedroom.
  • Sit down regularly with your children and discuss what they have been doing online.
  • Let your children know that they can talk to you if something happens online where they feel uncomfortable.
  • Discuss with your children how they can protect themselves and feel safe online.
  • Talk to your children about the importance of privacy, dignity and their identity. Discuss how what they post now could impact on their future.

How can I keep myself safe online?

It’s not just children that need to keep safe online. Adults also need to conduct themselves in a safe and responsible manner online. So what can an adult do to stay safe online?

  • Think carefully about what you post online. Remember that your children also have to live with the consequences of what you post—that cute photo of your toddler in the bath may not be what they want shared with the world in the future.
  • Remember to regularly check your privacy settings on the websites you visit (eg. Facebook, Twitter, Google accounts etc).

We need to work together to keep ourselves and our children safe online.

For more information about keeping safe online, check out:

Keeping our kids safe online

I was privileged enough to go to a short talk from ex Australian detective, Brett Lee, last week talk about cyber safety. Brett spent a lot of his time as an online detective in the search for cyber criminals – particularly paedophiles. He was once asked if he would see one cyber criminal online when he went online. He said that he would see 30.

Brett had a very simple message – we need to educate our kids about the dangers of the internet. He said that they are the same dangers that you face by walking down the street. We teach our kids about stranger danger – not to get in someone’s car, not to talk to strangers etc, but we aren’t so good when it comes to the internet. The same applies when talking to strangers on the internet. People (children/teens in particular) have a strong sense of anonymity on the internet that they feel safe. But these criminals know what our children need or want to hear. They know how to ‘groom’ a child.

Brett showed one of the chats he had with a ‘stranger’. Within moments he knew he was dealing with a paedophile, however a teenage boy or girl may not be aware. They do not have the life experience and the adult instincts that adults have. They cannot know the dangers unless we teach them.

Brett normally runs a two day workshop, and I imagine this would be excellent. I only attended an hour-long talk and was really impressed.

Brett’s website is www.iness.com.au