Many people believe that youngsters today are light-years ahead of most parents and teachers when it comes to using technology. They use their phones and laptops so rapidly and instinctively that it’s easy to think they know all there is to know about the internet and the online world. But when it comes to keeping safe online and knowing what to do if difficulties develop, young people frequently have a lot to learn.
Establishing a direct and honest conversation with your children about their use of social media, apps, games, and the internet is the best approach to keep them safe. Start promoting safe behaviours and talk about online threats as soon as you can, ideally as soon as they begin using the internet. There is ‘good’ and ‘bad’ stuff out there; discuss the distinctions between the two.
Modern filtering and reporting systems can be useful (and comforting for parents), but they cannot resolve every online issue. You should make children and teenagers feel safe approaching you if they feel intimidated or uncomfortable.
Tell them they did the right thing and ask for assistance from national authorities, such as eCrime in Dubai,
or teachers and specialised groups if they do come to you with a problem. You can also report cybercrimes to the nearest police station in your area, or call 999 for help. Consider the ‘My Safe Society’ app too, which has been launched by the UAE’s federal Public Prosecution and is available on iTunes.
We would advise parents to limit their youngsters’ online exposure. Although you would imagine that predators only gather and exchange explicit images, authorities frequently discover pictures of kids in typical settings like the beach or the bathtub.
Don’t ever disclose your full name, birthday, phone number, address, or place of education
For Children and Teenagers
If you use any device connected to the internet, protect yourself!
- Keep your devices, information, and passwords safe.
- Make sure your privacy settings remain high by constantly checking them.
- Don’t ever disclose your full name, birthday, phone number, address, or place of education.
The real world and the virtual world can differ significantly – is your online friend really whom they claim to be?
Never plan a meeting with a ‘virtual’ friend without first talking to your parents or a teacher.
If you do decide to meet an ‘online’ friend in person, take suitable safety precautions, whatever your age – let people know where you’re going and, preferably, take someone with you.
Start promoting safe behaviours and talk about online threats as soon as you can, ideally as soon as they begin using the internet
Think Before You Share
Even while sharing messages and pictures with friends you know personally from school, be cautious – Don’t post it if you’re concerned that someone else might read or see it.
Don’t doubt your intuition. Don’t respond if an online encounter makes you uncomfortable.
And keep in mind that nothing you share online can ever truly be deleted. After it’s posted, you can no longer edit it and it’s there forever.
- Take screenshots of any stuff that makes you uncomfortable and show them to a trusted friend or relative.
- Mistakes do occur. Don’t let embarrassment prevent you from reporting a dangerous or threatening situation even if you’ve done something you regret doing or saying.
Stay safe by remembering that not everyone is as nice as you or your mum and dad, or that nice Mr Einstein, who teaches you science!