Today’s world is becoming more and more digital, that is obvious. Many children aged 3 years old have been allowed by parents to use Internet-connected devices. Parents need to understand that the Internet is a second world and you need to teach their children to be responsible digital citizenship just like in the real world.

This article will help you teach digital citizenship for kids, with ways to use the Internet in a responsible, effective, and secure way.

What is digital citizenship?

Digital citizenship is the ability to use technology and digital means safely, responsibly, and effectively. Responsible digital citizenship is demonstrated by actions like:

  • Your child behaves lawfully – for example, not hacking, stealing, illegally downloading or causing damage to someone else’s work, identity or property online
  • Your child is respectful when interacting with others online
  • Your child uses the Internet effectively
  • Your children protect their privacy and that of others

Parents should note that the responsibility of digital citizenship differs from the technical skills required to use the Internet.

digital citizenship rules for kidsWhy do parents need to teach digital citizenship for kids?

Children use technology for a variety of purposes including learning, playing, entertaining and communicating with friends. This is considered the second world of your child and as a result, they need to be responsible as a real-world citizen.

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Educating your children about digital citizenship helps them understand how the world works and understand that similar to the real world, the digital world has its own set of complications and challenges.

As a result, you need to regularly guide your child so they can protect their own safety as well as equip them with the skills they need to make effective use of current digital technologies and develop responsible habits and behaviors in a virtual environment.

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4 Digital citizenship for parents

Here are some ways you may need to encourage your kids to be safe and responsible online while still having fun exploring the virtual world.

Important digital citizenship rules for kids –Digital safety – Teach your child to be skeptical

You need to show your children that not all people online are the same people they say they are and that your children should be very careful when strangers approach them online. If something looks too good, then it probably isn’t.

For example, a kid might be persuaded to meet someone they don’t know, share personal information with a stranger, or provide contact details after clicking a message that pops up.

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One of these “strangers” is Online Predator – These predators lurk on social media: chat rooms, instant messaging, game platforms that appeal to children – virtual locations where anonymity facilitates “hunting”.

Some common forms of cyber-predation are the online predator sending illegal images, audio or video to children under an approved age. Or the predator entices the minor to engage in pornographic conversations. Or arrange to meet with a minor to commit sexual acts that are illegal, unlawful and unethical.

If adults can be fooled by receiving millions of dollars or a supercar, kids can fall into more subtle scams when the attacker gives them what they value high such as 1-year free gameplay or special game features.

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What’s even more important is that there is a surge of inappropriate content on the internet such as pornography because porn distributors are increasingly pushing and finding younger and potential customers – there is no one else except your child.

Since pornography is highly addictive after only a few approaches, educating your children is not enough, you should consider using online content filtering tools to block this harmful content, minimizing the risk of approaching your child.

Digital Privacy – Be careful when posting information

Children don’t understand the boundaries of what should post and what should not post. Your child can disclose post personally identifiable information (PII) online, such as home address, phone number, credit card number, family name publicly on their social media profiles.

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It can also be any selfie, a family photo or a photo tagged by a friend, etc. Oversharing on social media makes private information more vulnerable to be disclosed.

So they should only share personal information if needed, and if they are unsure, let them understand that they can ask you for answers.

Digital communication – Teach your child to respect others

You should encourage your child to treat friends online with the same respect as they would face-to-face. Sometimes everything that happens online is more rough and harsh than communicating it face-to-face. One reason is that we rely on nonverbal communication to help us interpret conversations.

Shamming or hurting others is a very common occurrence on social media, known as cyberbullying. Part of this is creating or forwarding offensive or insulting emails, photos or text messages about others.

Tell your child to regularly read and re-read the messages, comments, descriptions, status they are about to send or post, because what they are going to make public can affect badly their friends, even make them commit suicide.

A lot of kids often “let go” of all their worries and sorrows on social media, and this is never a good idea. Sending text messages, posting statuses to release their current anger can make them more satisfied than they are now, but they will have to feel guilty or regretful in the future.

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Digital Footprint – Teach your children how to protect their own reputation

These are the traces of things your child leaves behind when they go online. Everything you post is public whether you delete the post or not, once you have commented, posted anything, it will be forever on the Internet and be traceable.

Remind your child to talk, interact with others online like they would talk and treat them face to face. Tell your child that in front of them is not a laptop or phone screen, but a person or people sitting across from them to receive their text messages.

Since what’s posted on the Internet is permanent, make sure your child understands the consequences of posting photos and videos and uploading other personal content and always considers it carefully before posting anything.

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