When you find yourself finally done with your education and have to live in the “real world”, you may realize that there are a lot of things that apply to your life that you need to know but were never taught in school. Wouldn’t it have been nice to learn how to do your taxes, buy a home, get a loan, or other important adult stuff when you were still in school?
Besides those skills, there’s something else that kids today need to learn in school that applies to the rest of their lives: they need to know how to use the internet safely. Kids have smartphones, tablets, and essentially unhindered access to the internet, a place that isn’t very kid-friendly (what with the all the porn and the dark, disturbing corner of the internet that is the deep web), and teaching them how to use it safely and appropriately can be very beneficial.
Internet safety should be taught in elementary and middle schools, when kids are at the age where they first start learning about the internet and start to use kid’s websites or play on their parent’s devices; when you’re in high school and nearing driving age, that’s when you take a Driver’s Ed course, so same rule applies here.
Ten years ago, an internet safety course for kids wasn’t necessary, but that was before mobile devices were engrossed in our daily lives; kids today need to be taught internet safety because it is something that applies to them now, and will be a major part of the rest of their lives.
Kids today aren’t taught how to protect their identity online, or anything related to internet safety, and it could cause a huge problem for the young generations who are just now being exposed to the web; if they don’t learn the tools to be safe online now, they could face the consequences later.
What if a 14-year-old kid decided to create a Twitter profile and listed his address and other private information on that profile? Someone, anyone, could find out where he lives, and frankly, I don’t want to continue this hypothetical anymore, knowing it might not end well.
What if your child thought he was going to shop on Amazon, only he found his way onto a website copying Amazon in hope of stealing people’s credit card numbers? If he were taught about encryption, HTTPS, and URLs, he wouldn’t have been fooled by a malicious website.
Passwords are an especially overlooked part of internet safety, and informing young students how to create super secure passwords will only help them in the future; instilling these safety habits into kids now will only make the internet safer in the future, so teaching kids web safety is a win-win.
People get manipulated all the time on the internet, and it will only be that much easier to manipulate a child on the internet; they don’t know not to trust people they meet online, so it’s up to parents to inform their child about internet safety.
Children need to be taught never to send pictures to anyone online or post them anywhere online as well. While the internet may be a great place with seemingly limitless amounts of information and great tools and ways to stay entertained, but it’s also an incredibly unsafe place where your identity can be stolen, so it’s important to also let your children know what sites they can visit, and how to tell if one they visit is legit or not.
Adults need to make it clear to their kids that the internet is not to be taken lightly; they need to know that if they stray from using the web safely, there can be some major consequences. This tool is going to be a big part of the rest of their lives, so they need to be aware of what it can do, both bad and good.
I was never taught internet safety as a kid, and had to learn internet safety the hard way after a computer got infected with a virus. Children today shouldn’t have to make the same mistake- there’s no excuse for not having an internet safety course in elementary or middle school, and the things they can learn from such a course will benefit them for the rest of their lives.
Parents want to give their children all tools to succeed that they can, but keeping them off the internet and away from the baddies isn’t going to do them any favors; teach them how to protect themselves online, and they’ll be able to use the internet without you having to watch over their shoulder.
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