By Madison Forster
- “A survey of almost 4,000 children found that 43 percent of those aged between 8 and 13 years old are talking to people they have never met in real life on social media and gaming platforms”.
- “Of that percent, the study found that more than half revealed their phone number to a stranger, one-fifth spoke with a stranger over the phone and 11 percent went as far as to meet a stranger in their own home, the stranger’s home, a park, or mall”.
- “A survey of 2,000 children found their social media profiles contained potentially sensitive information”.
- “The survey results also showed parents are more likely to talk to their children about safety in the real world versus the online world”.
From the studies that have been done, it is clear that an alarming amount of children give away information to strangers. The phrase “don’t talk to strangers” has been told to countless children by their parents, but as parents it is important to share the dangers of talking to strangers online.
- Someone may be using a fake profile and pretending to be someone they are not.
- Hackers will use personal information to get into other accounts.
- Someone could use the information you give them to blackmail you, harass or embarrass you.
- Someone may try to get close to you to build a romantic relationship. They could lie about who they are or what they have to try to meet up with you.
If someone has the worst intentions, it could be harmful to your reputation, personal relationships, and even get you in trouble. Start the talk with children on the reasons to not share their personal information and the very possible risks that can come from it.
Set your social media accounts to private
The safest solution to keep your information hidden is to set your account to “private” so only approved friends and family can view your profiles. Strangers may try and find more out about you through what they can see on your social media accounts. Setting your accounts to private will also prevent you from getting messages from strangers, and you would have to approve the person before viewing it.
Block strangers from playing online games with you
Change the privacy settings through parental control to allow children to only play with approved friends. This alleviates the risk of strangers from speaking to your children and getting any information from them.
Change your passwords
If your children have shared any personal information like passwords, they should change them immediately. Having different passwords for each of their accounts can also prevent someone who has the information from hacking into other personal accounts.
Educate about the risks
Teach your children the reasons behind why they shouldn’t talk to strangers, in real life AND online. The amount of children who do give away information to strangers is higher than ever and it is the responsibility of parents today to educate the dangers of it.
- Have you ever shared your password with anyone? Is there anything you could do to fix it?
- What could happen if someone with bad intentions had your personal information?
- If a stranger went to your social media profiles, do you know what information they can see? What would you not want them to see?
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