What should I know about keeping my child safe online?

You cannot always know what your children are doing online, and may not be able to control everything they do on every device, website, or app.  However, you can be a good example for your child, keep your house safe, and educate them about online privacy and safety.

How do I know if my child is unsafe online?

Look for the following warning signs that could mean your child is talking to an online predator:

  • spending long hours online or on the phone, especially at night 

  • calls from people you don't know 

  • your child suddenly turning off the computer or other devices when you walk into the room 

  • withdrawal from family life and refuses to discuss online activities with you

  • communicating and/or sharing personal information with strangers (particularly adults, or much older children)

  • receiving and/or sharing inappropriate content from friends (pornography on their computer)

This may lead to dangerous offline situations, such as sexual exploitation, or cyberbullying.

How can I help my child stay safe online?

A good practice is to have shared rules around online privacy. You can use the privacy house rules tool to build a list that your family can use. You also can make sure your home wifi has a strong password, so others cannot access it.

More specifically, you can, help your child stay safe online by:

  • Talking to your child about what websites and apps and gaming consoles (e.g. PlayStation, Xbox or Nintendo) they use regularly

  • Learning about the privacy settings of all the tools your child uses

  • Educating your child about what personal information is appropriate or inappropriate to share (or not share) online

  • Discussing the short and long-term implications of what your child shares

  • Discussing who to accept a “friend request” from, to prevent strangers from connecting with your child’s social media accounts

  • Educating your child about password safety, such as having hard-to-guess passwords and not sharing passwords with others

  • Having rules around meeting online friends in real life

Be a Good Example

The best way you can help your child stay safe online is by being a good example so they can learn from your actions about online privacy and safety.  You can do this by:

  • Only sharing personal information, photos, and videos with people you trust

  • Not accepting “friend requests” from strangers

  • Having strong and secure passwords

  • Logging out of online accounts when using shared devices

  • Being skeptical about information online and spotting fake news

For more information

Last updated: February 27, 2024 4006378