Talking with your children about safe internet usage

Home access to computers and the internet has expanded dramatically over the last two decades. According to Child Trends, more and more children, some as young as three-years-old, are accessing the online world.  With this trend continuing for years to come, it’s important to include them in conversations about safe internet usage and data privacy.

Sunday, Jan. 28 is Data Privacy Day. The day is designed as an educational initiative and a reminder about the importance of protecting your personal information and data online.

Based on the National Cyber Security Alliance’s tips, here are some ideas for starting a conversation about internet safety with your children:

  • The value of personal information—Personal information is a lot like money. It’s incredibly valuable so it needs to be well taken care of and protected. Talk to your children about how to be mindful about the information they provide to apps and websites, and emphasize the importance of using privacy and security settings. Help them understand that they should never share information such as their real name, address, phone number, or the name of their school to anyone they meet online.
  • Be mindful of what you post online— Explain to your children that once they post information online, it’s nearly impossible to take back. Encourage them to consider how the content they post online may affect them in the future.
  • Your actions online are influential—Remind your kids that the things they say and do online can impact others in positive and negative ways. You shouldn’t do something to someone else that you wouldn’t want done to you.
  • Not everything on the internet is safe—Help your children learn how to identify what safe, trustworthy websites and apps look like. Encourage them to be careful about the content they click on or download.

With new technology constantly emerging, it can be challenging to stay current on issues relating to internet security and data privacy. For the latest information about ways for you and your children to stay safe online, visit

by August Braun, TDS public relations intern

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