Safer Internet Day is on Feb. 11, 2020, create an awareness among your students and your own children about being safe online.
As parents and teachers, we should always teach our children about internet safety. Have the discussions, develop rules and procedures of what to do when on the web with the children and young people in your care.
If we keep the discussion open and listen to our children, if something happens they will be more inclined to turn to us.
We should always be aware of what we do online, if we would not do it in a face-to-face situation, why would you want to do it online. Be a wise and responsible digital citizen!
Here are some Internet safety tips, thougths and ideas to discuss:
1. Always have a password on your device or into applications. With your online passwords, you should:
Create strong passwords, which uses lower (abdfru) and upper (HTGPNB) case letters, numbers (82394) and symbols (&$#@*^?!), with a minimum of 8 characters.
Not using your name or something that is easily identifiable. Perhpas use a saying you like and use the first letter of each word, then add the mixture of letters, symbols and numbers into that.
Create different passwords for the different apps and websites you use.
Why: Use don’t not want others to see your information, so using a mixture of different types of characters make the password difficult to crack. Do not use the same password on all applications and websites. Use a range of difficult passwords for extra safety.
2. With your passwords, you should:
Never give out your passwords, except to your parents or an adult you trust.
Why: Sometimes you may have a fight with your friend and they may compromise you using your login and password.
Watch Real-Life Stories - Cyberbullying - Broken Friendship:
3. You want to download an application, the first thing you should do:
Even if you know the application and lots of your friends use it, you should go into the terms and conditions, are you old enought for the application. If you download the app go into the settings and check them, set them up to suit you.
Ask yourself: do you need to receive notifications, does the application need to know your location or to automatically to update. Check the various aspects and switch them on or off as you see fit.
Why: We should not accept the default setting of applications, we should take ownership of what is on our phones, and set the application to suit our needs.
Explore Media Monitoring Africa's Tease and Sieze Website: http://teaseandseizeapply.co.za/
4. When someone asks for personal information such as phone numbers or addresses online, you should:
Never give out personal information online in emails or instant messages because you never know who you are really communicating with. Personal information includes: name, address,age, telephone numbers, school name - information that is personally about you.
Why: The person requesting the information may not be who they are. Your information may be used for fraud against you or to physically locate you.
Watch Common Sense Education, Private and Personal Information:
5. When online friends say they want to meet you in person, you should:
You should NEVER give out your name or address to anyone you meet online. If you really want to have an "offline" conversation with this online person, check with your parents / guardian to discuss what might be a safe way to arrange a face-to-face. If your parents agree to the meeting, it should take place in a public place and with at least one of your parent’s / guardian’s present.
Why: You don’t really know who the person is, they may be pretending to someone else. They may want to harm you. Always be very careful about wanting to meet someone you met online.
6. When in an interactive game or chat room, another player or person makes you feel uncomfortable, you should:
You should tell your parents / guardian. Stop communicating with the person. Don’t delete the messages, take screenshots as evidence. Block the person. Ask your parents if the person should be reported, and for your parents to assist you to report the person on the gaming platform or chat room administration. If totally inappropriate, your parents and yourself can report it to the police.
Why: We should be able to participate without feeling uncomfortable, therefore if you feel uncomfortable you should leave the space. The other person may be asking you to do things that you don’t like or you know is unacceptable. The person may have the intention to harm you, therefore telling an adult you trust and discussing what to do next, is a very wise decision
7. Your online friend asks you to take a digital picture of yourself and share it, you should:
NEVER send a picture of yourself to someone you met online, without first checking with your parents / guardians. Never take inappropriate pictures of yourself to share with others, even if you really love the person. If they loved you they would not ask you to share photos like that.
Why: The person may be pretending to be someone else. May want to embarass you, by editing the picture and sharing it as inappropriate content. The person may want to recognise you in real life, so as to harm you. The person may be looking for photos to use on a pornography site. Be wise and don’t just share pictures.
Watch Childline: #ListenToYourSelfie The Game:
8. You are in the middle of a chat session or an online game, someone says something really nasty and mean online, you should: You should not respond and tell your parents / guardian. Stop communicating with the person. If they have sent you nasty, bullying or inappropriate messages, don’t respond. Don’t delete the nasty and inappropriate message. Take screenshots as evidence. Ask your parents to assist you and report the person on the gaming platform or chat room administration. Block the person. If totally inappropriate, your parents and yourself can report it to the police.
Why: You should not reply or engage the person. You should remain a respectful digital citizen, tell an adult and
9. You and your parents have established rules as to what you can do on the Internet when you are home, but you are now at a friend's house, you should:
Go by your parents' rules, and shouldn’t just do whatever your friend does. Wherever you are, you should go by your parents’ / guardians’ rules. Sometimes there may be additional rules based on where you are. For example, if your friends parents' have extra rules for your friend, you'll have to go by those too. When you're at school or at a library you should go by the rules there. However, you should always talk to your parents about what they think is best.
Why: Your parents / guardians want you to be safe, and have your best interests at heart. Be a responsible digital citizen, and stick to what you and your parents agreed.
10. Your friend is encouraging you to take an inappropriate and illegal photo of your private body parts, you should: Not agree to take the photo or video, nor send an inappropriate or illegal photos or videos
Why: A photo of your private body part is seen as pronography, sharing nude pictures like that is called sexting. Read the definitions and information below for why it is inappropriate, but also illegal.
Definition - Wikipedia: “Sending sexually explicit messages or photographs, primarily between mobile phones. Including taking inappropriate photos and / or trading of inappropriate photos” (Source: wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexting)
Definition - Kids Help Phone: “Sexting is sending and receiving sexual messages through technology such as a phone, app, email or webcam. For some people, sexting is a way to explore sexuality, trust, boundaries and intimacy. However, in some cases, sexting is used to bully, blackmail and exploit.
Sexts can involve words, photos or videos such as:
a message or post written with sexual language
nude or semi-nude photos/videos
photos/videos of sexual acts
live chats with someone on webcam involving sexual acts
screen-captured photos/videos recorded from webcam” (Source: kidshelpphone.ca/get-info/what-sexting )
Warning about sharing sharing images of private body parts in South Africa.
WikiGender describes the ages of consent in South Africa, stating it is illegal to watch or participate in any form of pornography (‘porn’) if you are under the age of 18. Pornography is visual material containing the explicit display of sexual organs or activity. Sharing of nude photos and video are classified as pornography.
The Act governing the age of consent, as well as other related sexual matters and offences in South Africa is the amended Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Act 32 of 2007.
(Sources: WikiGender: Ages of consent to sex in South Africa. https://www.wikigender.org/wiki/ages-of-consent-to-sex-in-south-africa/ and Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Act 32 of 2007 https://www.justice.gov.za/legislation/acts/2007-032.pdf)
11. When you are online and you get a message from your Internet service provider or website asking for your password. They say they need it to fix your account, you should:
You should never give out your Internet password to anyone (even your best friends) other than your parents / guardians. Most Internet service providers will never ask you for a password.
Why: Sometimes people will pretend that they work for the Internet service provider to get your password to access your accounts and cause your harm.
Why: You don’t really know who the person is, they may be pretending to be someone else. They may want to harm you. Always be very careful about wanting to meet someone you met online.
12. You had been shopping online, you then received an email from the store, asking for your bank / credit card’s information, you should:
You should NOT send your bank card details. If you receive an email from a store you recently shopped at online requesting for your bank /credit card information again, ignore it. If someone asks you for this information they are phishing. Report this to their customer service department of the online store, as soon as possible.
Why: Secure shopping websites do not provide the shop with your complete bank / credit card number to protect you. If someone asks you for this information they are phishing. Report this to their customer service department.
There are many caring and respectful people and businesses online. However just as in the real world, there are people and organisations who want to harm you or perhaps steal from you. Be alert! Think before you post or share! If it makes you feel uneasy, don't do it!
Watch Amaze Org's Video Being Safe on the Internet https://youtu.be/HxySrSbSY7o
Watch the video from Common Sense Media, called: 5 Internet Safety Tips for Kids
Websites to explore with your children:
Google safety centre: https://safety.google/intl/en_za/
YouTube safety: https://www.youtube.com/about/policies/#staying-safe
Be Safe Online!
If you would like me to present to your students, parents, community about internet safety. Reach out.
I look forward to hearing from you!