Today's children often use mobile devices at very young ages... four, five, or six years of age. And they don't know anything about online dangers: computer viruses, stalking, cyber-bullying, identity theft, phishing scams, ransomware, and more. Nor do they know how to read terms-of-use and privacy policies. It is parents' responsibility to teach them.
NordVPN, a maker of privacy software, offers several tips to help parents teach their children about online safety:
"1. Set an example: If you want your kid to be careful and responsible online, you should start with yourself."
Children watch their parents. If you practice good online safety habits, they will learn from watching you. And:
"2. Start talking to your kid early and do it often: If your child already knows how to play a video on Youtube or is able to download a gaming app without your help, they also should learn how to do it safely. Therefore, it’s important to start explaining the basics of privacy and cybersecurity at an early age."
So, long before having the "sex talk" with your children, parents should have the online safety talk. Developing good online safety habits at a young age will help children throughout their lives; especially as adults:
"3. Explain why safe behavior matters: Give relatable examples of what personal information is – your address, social security number, phone number, account credentials, and stress why you can never share this information with strangers."
You wouldn't give this information to a stranger on a city street. The same applies online. That also means discussing social media:
"4. Social media and messaging: a) don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know; b) never send your pictures to strangers; c) make sure only your friends can see what you post on Facebook; d) turn on timeline review to check posts you are tagged in before they appear on your Facebook timeline; e) if someone asks you for some personal information, always tell your parents; f) don’t share too much on your profile (e.g., home address, phone number, current location); and g) don’t use your social media logins to authorize apps."
These are the basics. Read the entire list of online safety tips for parents by Nord VPN.