Sunday, August 04, 2013

When Do You Start Teaching Cybersafety Skills?

I get emails, hundreds a day. Many ask the same question - "When should we start teaching cybersafety?" The answer is easy. You start as soon as your kids start using digital devices. And that is often earlier than you think. Long before they get their own cell phones or Facebook accounts, they are using digital devices. They use DSi's of different generations, XBox and PS's of different generations, their own or their friend's bearville (Build-a-bear) and Webkinz accounts, Sesame Street and Disney sites and apps,they take and share images and videos and more. In "RL" (real life) safety begins at home. Our kids are taught not to stick forks into outlets (no matter how perfectly they seem to fit) and to hold the railing when walking down stairs. Digital literacy and cybersafety begin at home too. Set rules for when and how devices are used. Teach them that texting is not a dinnertime activity, and computer games should not replace homework. Help them create passwords that are easy to remember but hard to guess. Help them understand how to protect their privacy (especially their passwords) and devices. Digital hygiene tips, like anti-virus programs and not clicking on links, need to be reinforced. Buy insurance for their cellphones and have them check the pockets of their jeans before dropping them into the laundry to avoid testing the water-proofing of their handheld devices. :-) Back up all images from cell phones, just in case. Start early, and keep updating as they get older and get more devices. It's a conversation, not a lecture and important. To learn more, check out to sign up for our wiredparents training program.