We then looked at a variety of different things that could go wrong and things that we need to teach children about: here is a selection.
Passwords: We need to ensure that children keep passwords to themselves and don’t tell other people. At my pre-course placement we had a session with a visiting speaker and the children had a lot of fun testing their passwords on “HowSecureIsMyPassword.net”. It is also a good way of generating new passwords that work well. Children also need to be told explicitly NOT to put their password in any website that looks suspicious, the password testing website is an exception to this rule as it has been approved.
Cyber-Bullying: Children need to be aware that if they are getting harassed online that they need to tell an adult immediately and that it is the same as bullying in real life. This can occur over social networks and the like and if they are under the appropriate age they shouldn’t have things like FB or Snapchat anyway.
Viruses and Fake Emails: Children are very vulnerable and so may believe pop-up ads, pretend emails or enticing images that may hide a trojan horse virus or something else. They need to be aware that not everything online is true, a good example of this being the website ‘http://zapatopi.net/treeoctopus/’
Strangers: Children need to know to keep personal details to themselves when it comes to talking to anyone online, especially on anonymous sites like Club Penguin etc. They need to know that not everyone online can be who they seem to be, however much they talk to them.
The website ChildNet is really helpful when it comes to resources and advice for young children on the internet. It uses the acronym SMART to explain how children should act on the internet:
Keep safe by being careful not to give out personal information when you’re chatting or posting online. Personal information includes your email address, phone number and password.
Meeting someone you have only been in touch with online can be dangerous. Only do so with your parents’ or carers’ permission and even then only when they can be present. Remember online friends are still strangers even if you have been talking to them for a long time.
Accepting emails, IM messages, or opening files, images or texts from people you don’t know or trust can lead to problems – they may contain viruses or nasty messages!
Someone online might lie about who they are and information on the internet may not be true. Always check information by looking at other websites, in books, or with someone who knows. If you like chatting online it’s best to only chat to your real world friends and family.
Tell a parent, carer or a trusted adult if someone, or something, makes you feel uncomfortable or worried, or if you or someone you know is being bullied online.
Thank you for reading,