So what is “Online Safety”?
In simple terms, online safety refers to the act of staying safe online. It is also commonly known as internet safety, e-safety, and cyber safety. Being safe online means individuals are protecting themselves and others from online harms and risks which may jeopardise their personal information, lead to unsafe communications or even affect their mental health and wellbeing.
Operating within an online space is something most of us simply do subconsciously but have you ever stopped to consider the potential dangers which exist on the web, especially for our children?
Why is it important to stay safe online, especially for kids?
Whether it is acing a school project or staying connected with a friend who moved to a different city. Kids are actively using the internet, at times even without parental supervision.
There are particular risks if your child uses the internet to communicate with others – for example, on social media or when playing online games. Needless to state, there are a few risks involved in this and parents should be aware of them.
What are the risks?
It goes without saying that the internet can be an unforgiving place. Aside from the more obvious risks such as:
• Cyber-stalking – is any kind of harassment or threatening behaviour that occurs online. It can happen through instant messaging, text messaging, email, or social networks. If the perpetrator is a child or teen, it is often called cyberbullying.
• Piracy – in the online world, piracy refers to illegally sharing copyrighted materials. This can include music, movies, TV shows, and software. For many kids, sharing files may seem innocent, but it can result in stiff penalties.
• Cyberbullying – is bullying that occurs online, often through instant messaging, text messaging, email, and social networks. Cyberbullies may be the same age as the victims, or they may be older.
• Malware – is malicious software that is designed to damage your computer or steal your personal information. It includes viruses, spyware, and other types of software. Malware is often secretly bundled with other software, and it can also infect email attachments.
• Revealing too much – many kids and teens like to post photos and share information about themselves. In some cases, this information can be used by online predators. It’s also possible for an embarrassing photo or information to damage a kid’s or teen’s reputation. This can affect their social life, and it may even come back to haunt them years later.
• Phishing – is a type of scam where the scammer tries to trick you into revealing your personal information. Usually, it involves an email, instant message, or website that is designed to look like it’s from a legitimate company.
The internet can pose serious dangers to children. It can also open doors of wonder for them that previous generations could not even have dreamed of.
Help ensure your children’s online safety so they experience the joys and opportunities of the online world, and avoid its hazards. Be aware. Be vigilant. But first and foremost be actively involved in your children’s digital and day-to-day lives and communicate openly.
At Quantum Space, Learning and Innovation Hub, we teach our students cyber safety, being a good role model online and being careful when sharing personal information.