Talking to Your Kids about Using the Internet

For most of us who are parents, the Internet wasn’t around when we were born. We never had to fumble with smartphones, check our Facebook and email, and we had to get our news from the TV or newspaper. But our kids are growing up with this technology and accustomed to using it in every facet of their lives.

It’s sad to think that our kids are so far ahead of us technologically. But just because we’re not up on the current trends doesn’t mean we can’t effectively monitor their Internet use. It is important to note that simply going and putting up parental blocks on certain websites isn’t necessarily effective; it will only make our children more curious about the restricted pages. Instead, talking honestly with our children about what is and is not appropriate Internet use will not only foster a transparent relationship, but will leave the child with the impression that they can come to you with a question any time.

These are some topics you can discuss with your child about using the Internet.

1. Privacy

Facebook has been a consistent target for privacy issues in the online world. The first thing your child should know about using the Internet is to never put out any valuable information. They should be informed of the dangers of releasing personal information without being threatened. Ask if you can look through their privacy settings on Facebook to ensure that no information is visible to the public.

2. Scams

The internet has made scamming so much easier, and has made it easier to become the victim. This kind of ties into the idea of Privacy; the less information you give out, the safer you will be.

Often, we will receive emails or messages from people we know, talking about a new product or new website they found. Teach your child to find misspelled words or things that the sender normally wouldn’t say, as most of those types of emails are scams that can hack your account if you click on the provided link. Also tell them that they are never the “winner” of any flashy pop-up ad. If they have clicked on something and do not feel right about it, tell them to either close it, or come and get you to take a look.

3. Age-Appropriateness

Discuss with your child what he or she plans to do online. Let them know what is okay for them to do at their age. For example, a 13-year-old girl can play games, talk with friends on a messenger service like Yahoo or Skype, but not join or peruse the best dating sites.

Tell your children to stay away from “bad” sites. As mentioned before, if they don’t feel right about something, they should close it or come get you to see it.

4. Integrity

Today, employers look at potential employee’s social media presence to determine their true character. The way a person manages their image online could make or break them. Managing an online presence that is decent and well-kept is a good habit to get into, especially at an early age. Suggestive pictures and posts with questionable content should just not go up online ever.

One rule for this that usually works with children and adults alike is, if it would make grandma uncomfortable or upset, it shouldn’t go up.

All of us rely on the Internet to get through our daily lives. But it does have its dangers, which we should teach to our children. That’s why it is our parental duty to not only get caught up on the new technologies, but how we can teach our kids how to properly use the Internet safely.


  1. Donna B. says:

    Great article – thanks for posting this.

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