Our children are often referred to as digital natives—people growing up immersed in a digital world. And while they may be comfortable with technology and online activities, they are not born knowing how to be safe in that digital world. Just like our parents taught us how to be safe running around unsupervised in our neighborhoods growing up, we now need to teach our children those skills for the digital world. We may not be digital natives and may not necessarily know all the ins and outs of online safety, but there are many resources available to help us teach our kids to be safe online.
The Smart Talk: Created as a collaboration between National PTA and LifeLock, this online tool walks you and your child through a conversation about online safety and boundaries. As you go through the discussion covering topics such as screen time, social media, and privacy, you and your child develop an agreement that you can print out at the end detailing how they will behave online. National PTA also provides resources to host a Smart Talk Conversation between parents and students at your school.
Be Internet Awesome: Developed by National PTA and Google, the Be Internet Awesome program is a ready-made presentation for families about online safety and digital citizenship. The toolkit from National PTA provides you with everything you need to host the program, including promotional materials, guides, handouts, evaluation forms, and more.
Digital Families: This program was created by National PTA and Facebook. Using the toolkit, your PTA can promote and host an event that helps families understand the online world their children are growing up in. Topics including bullying, how to respond to online interactions, and online safety are covered.
Net Cetera: This guide from the Federal Trade Commission guides parents through age-appropriate conversations about online safety, including inappropriate conduct, contact, and content. The guide highlights the key topics you’ll want to discuss with your kids as well as how to keep your computer secure and to protect your child’s privacy.
NetSmartz: NetSmartz is operated by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. They have videos for kids and teens on topics such as cyberbullying, online exploitation, and sexting. Resources for parents include tip sheets on gaming safety, cyberbullying, social media safety, and more. The site includes resources and videos developed specifically for teens and tweens.
ConnectSafely: A non-profit focused on educating everyone from kids to seniors about safety, privacy, and security online. They feature a collection of guides for parentson topics such as cyberbullying, educational technology, Snapchat, and more. They also have a collection of online safety tipsin English and Spanish.