Children are beset with a multitude of dangers on the internet, which makes the topic of internet safety more important than ever. From personal issues such as bullying to external threats such as phishing and online predators, keeping children safe while they use the internet is a challenge. 

This is part 5 of 5 of our 4C’s of Online Safety series.   

  1. The 4C’s of Online Safety Part 1: Protecting Students from Harmful Content Online  
  2. The 4C’s of Online Safety Part 2: What is Online Contact Risk? 
  3. The 4C’s of Online Safety Part 3: What is Inappropriate Online Behavior? 
  4. The 4C’s of Online Safety Part 4: How to Protect Child Data 
  5. The 4C’s of Online Safety Part 5: Why is Internet Safety Important? 

What is Internet Safety? 

Internet safety, also referred to as online safety, e-safety, or cyber safety, refers to the way in which we engage we engage with the internet. Internet safety refers to how we can use the internet in a positive and productive way and protect ourselves from dangers such as online predators, phishing, malware, and more. 

Why is Internet Safety Important? 

The internet can be either safe or dangerous, and it largely depends upon the knowledge of the user and the safety tools in place. If a child is both aware of the dangers on the internet and how to avoid them, as well as protected by software such as web filtering, then they’ll be well protected against online threats. 

Here is a video that highlights some of the mental health challenges students are facing. Using the internet while facing issues such as depression, eating disorders or anxiety puts children’s safety at greater risk, as they can use the internet to find content that could encourage negative behavior.  

Internet filtering and monitoring solutions can help detect children who are in danger in these scenarios.

Understanding the Risks 

To help protect the children in your care, you need to first be aware of the dangers they face online. Be on the lookout for harmful: 

Content: this can be violent, gory, extremist, or hateful, which may also be sexualized or pornographic 

Contacts: sextortion, harassment, sexual grooming 

Behavior: bullying (posting mean or hateful messages), pretending to be someone else, posting embarrassing content 

Data exposure: insecure digital devices, places where a child submits their personal information 

For a deeper dive on what to look out for, check out the other blog posts in our online safety series, linked above.  

How to Teach Children About Online Safety 

Educating children on the dangers they may encounter online (online predators, protecting their data) will help them navigate the online world. Educating yourself on the apps they use and building a relationship of trust with the children in your care (so they feel they can approach you if they have questions or feel uncomfortable if they have a negative online experience) will go a long way towards increasing their safety.  

By having regular discussions with the children in your care about how to protect themselves online and using safety tools such as web filtering and monitoring to help detect and deal with threats in real-time, children will be well on their way to using the internet in a healthy, productive, and positive way. 

Further Resources