While harnessing the power of technology for education and personal use, it is important for students to be responsible digital citizens. As with all things, parents are their primary teachers. Here are a few helpful guidelines for raising good digital citizens:
· Security – Protect your family computers with a security suite of programs including anti-virus, anti-spyware, and a firewall. Set them to update automatically. Know the security provisions on family cell phones.
· Engage – Know your children’s interests and pay attention to the websites your children use by checking the search history of family computers. Share their interests by surfing the internet together.
· Communicate – Talk with your children about credible websites and content and how to identify them. Explain that, while the internet is a great resource, there are people who use it to take advantage of others. Stress that anything shared on the internet is available for others to copy and use, and it is almost impossible to remove anything once it is shared. Discuss the need to respect their own personal information as well as that of friends and family.
· Educate – Be aware of the security tools your internet service provider has made available to parents. Review the privacy settings on your family computers and phones.
· Empower – Encourage your children to develop critical thinking skills and make wise choices. Let them know they can always come to you for advice about their internet usage, and urge them to develop good internet habits and promote the same in their friends.
Most importantly, model what you are teaching your children. Good digital citizenship is important for adults as well as children. It not only protects your children but strengthens and protects the greater community.
“Raising Digital Citizens.” StaySafeOnline.Org. National Cyber Security Alliance, January 11, 2016.