Teaching internet safety for kids can be daunting, but it is so important! October is National Bullying Prevention Month, so today, I'm sharing with you some ways to teach kids internet safety, how to spread kindness online, and what to do about bullying as part of the Be Internet Awesome initiative.
#ItsCoolToBeKind #BeInternetAwesome #sponsored
Today's post has been sponsored by Mom It Forward and the #BeInternetAwesome Google Blog Tour Campaign, however, as always all opinions are my own. Please see my Disclosure Policy for more information.
When my son began public school, I became very involved in our PTA and school community. It wasn't necessarily a role I would have pictured myself in 15 years ago. As a young mom, I was worried and unsure. I started as secretary, then vice president, and finally president. I learned so much about the educational system, how much politics effects our schools, and how to be an advocate for not only my own children, but others.
In this role, I worked closely with teachers and administrators and have seen so many amazing things. I have also seen and felt first hand the devastating affects of bullying. I am committed to finding ways to sharing anti-bullying messages, and educating parents to help their children. That's why I am excited to share with you the #BeInternetAwesome campaign. It's our job as parents to guide our children to be the best little humans they can be.
What is Be Internet Awesome?
International Society of Technology in Education is Google’s free multifaceted program designed to teach kids the fundamentals of digital citizenship and safety so they can explore the online world with confidence. The program is available in English and Spanish and consists of an International Society of Technology in Education (ISTE) standards aligned curriculum, ready-made Pear Decks for each lesson, Interland - an adventure-packed online game about digital safety and citizenship - and plenty of resources for educators and parents.
Our five areas of Internet awesomeness:
- SMART: Where we learn to share with care
- ALERT: Where we learn not to fall for fake
- STRONG: Where we learn how to secure Our digital stuff
- KIND: Where we learn that itʼs cool to be kind
- BRAVE: Where we learn that, when in doubt, we talk it out
Internet Safety for Kids
Internet safety and anti-bullying aren't just important. In the world we live in now, it is critical to teach our kids not only the right way to interact with others and how to stay safe, but also what to do in a bullying situation.
Internet Safety Tips for Parents and Guardians
Internet safety for kids starts with parents and guardians setting clear expectations when it comes to internet use. This is easier than you might think. Start by spending sometime online with your child to show them appropriate online behavior and what sites they are allowed to visit. As your children grow, internet safety rules will grow with them. Here are a few tips to get started with young children:
- Monitor your child while they are online. All it takes is one click for them to end up in the wrong spot.
- Keep all devices in common spaces and collect them before bed.
- Use parental controls on your browser and internet service provider.
- Install mature content filtering software.
- Know your online game ratings and the differences (check out this game ratings cheat sheet).
- Teach your kids internet safety basics (see below).
- Don't let your kids shop online without you.
Internet Safety for Kids - 3 Basic Rules
Teach your young children these basic rules for internet safety.
- Do not share personal information such as phone number, address, age, or school name.
- Choose smart passwords and keep them protected. Even sites like abcmouse.com and spellingcity.com (two favorites in our house) require passwords.
- Teach kids to follow the Golden Rule online - treat others as they want to be treated online, just as they would want to be treated in person.
Compassion and empathy are important skills children need to learn to become productive members of society. Instilling the values of respect, honesty and kindness starts with modeling, so make sure that your kids see you as a role model. Remember they may not be listening, but they sure are watching!
October is National Bullying Prevention Month
PACER founded National Bullying Prevention Month in 2006 to help create a world without bullying by providing information and resources for parents, schools, and communities. there are tons of resources on their website. You'll also find a lot of great digital safety tools for both home and in the classroom at g.co/BeInternetAwesome.
I absolutely love The "Grandma Rule" from Guapologia. She challenges her children to ask the question - "Would Grandma fell proud of the way I am talking to people?" This is a great way for kids to think about their behavior and respect. If they wouldn't want Grandma to hear it, they probably shouldn't say it!
Facts About Bullying
Bullying is real. It happens in real life, and it happens online. These statistics are scary:
- 28% of students have experienced bullying personally.
- 71% of students have witnessed bullying directly.
- Only 20% - 30% of students notify adults about bullying.
- Over 50% of parents are concerned about their child being bullied.
Teach your Child to be an Upstander, not a Bystander
In any situation, a bystander does nothing but watch something happen, but an upstander is someone who tries to help make it better. Not every likes being an upstander. It's hard and sometimes uncomfortable, both for kids and adults! There are a lot of ways to be an upstander though, so teach your children how to spread kindness and show compassion.
- Tell an Adult. This is always my number one rule. Encourage your child to tell a trusted adult what is happening. Talk with your kids about who might be a trusted adult in different situations, such as at school, in aftercare, during after school activities or online.
- Be Kind. Ultimately, the target of the bullying really needs a friend or two. Talk with your children about finding ways to be a good friend and spread kindness by inviting the person to hang out, being a good listener, or sit with them at lunch.
- Never Engage with a Bully. The old adage of "if you don't have anything nice to say" applies here. It's okay for your child to call out bullying behavior and to tell them to stop, but don't encourage them fight back. That will most often make it worse.
Don’t forget to play Interland with your kids to put their kindness skills to the test.
More Internet Safety for Kids Resources
Learn more about how to Be Internet Awesome at g.co/BeInternetAwesome and tell your kids’ teachers about the online curriculum so they can introduce these activities in the classroom.
Here are some other articles you might like from fellow bloggers:
- 17 Random Acts of Kindness - The Soccer Mom Blog
- How to Talk to Your Kids About Online Bullying - Confessions of a Northern Belle