Children and the Internet

Keeping your family safe from the dangers of the internet.

Even highly responsible children can increase a household’s cyber-risk. They are more trusting than adults, and so they may inadvertently engage with cybercriminals in gaming or social media situations. They may also be aware of new techniques to circumvent parental controls.

Advice to Give Your Children

  • Some people you meet online may not be who they say they are, so it’s best to avoid communicating with anyone you don’t know. Tell a parent or trusted adult if a stranger tries to communicate with you, and don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know.
  • Use a nickname rather than your real name.
  • Set your profile to private so only your friends can see it.
  • Avoid sharing personal information such as your full name, address, mobile number, school and photos. If such information is required for something important, ask a parent first.
  • Be cautious about the links you click to avoid installing malware. Cybercriminals use many tactics to coerce people, especially children, into clicking on malicious links, including fake apps, plug-ins and enticing offers. These malicious links may show up in social media feeds or blogs and chatrooms.
  • Don’t accept offers that sound too good to be true. They most likely are, and you or your parents could end up with an unexpected bill—or worse. When in doubt, ask a parent.
  • Avoid accessing public Wi-Fi networks; even those that require a password are not secure.
  • Never give out your password.
  • Don’t commit or tolerate cyberbullying. Tell a parent if you see it.
  • Be careful when playing online games. Keep all chats relevant to the game, use a private chatroom and only with people you know. Never spend real money in a game without asking a parent first.

Additional Steps for Parents

  • Install parental control software. Both Windows and Mac offer free options that are excellent.
  • Set up unique profiles. If your children use a shared device, set up separate user accounts for them with limited permissions and higher security settings.
  • Ensure their antivirus software is up to date.
  • Review your kids’ social media profiles. It never hurts to check in to ensure they are not at risk.