For WiredKids and WiredTeens
Cybersafety for Kids and Tweens
Getting Help When Things Go Wrong:
If someone is being mean to you or has threatened you or someone you care about, you have to tell right away, even if you aren’t sure if they are serious. The thing to think about is whether or not they scared you or made you worried. If so, you should get help from your parents.
Print out the messages to show them, and save a digital copy if you can on your computer. (That includes special secret code that will help figure out who sent it.) Then log off. Do something else until you can talk with them or spend time with a friend you trust.
If you end up at a bad site by mistake, don’t worry that your parents will blame you for going there. If you signed a contract with your parents, you already got them to promise not to. If you didn’t, you can show them our tips for parents which tell them not to over-react.
Let them know right away. They can help you feel better. It’s not your fault when you end up by accident at a bad site.
If someone is threatening to hack you, has stolen your passwords (we’ll teach you how to make that harder for them) or accessed your accounts without your permission, let your parents know as soon as you can. They may need to install or update your antivirus software and firewalls, help you get your account back or notify the site that your account has been compromised. (That means someone used it without your permission.)
StopCyberbullying.org says to “stop, block and tell!” if anything hurts your feelings or upsets you online. Stop – don’t answer back, Block the person or message and Tell! a trusted adult (like your parents). It keeps you from being hurt and from doing something you’ll regret.
And don’t worry. If your parents aren’t sure how to help you, we’ll help them.
About WiredKids and WiredTweens:
Technology: The Risks to Your Children by Age
If your children are 8 or under:
Here are some basic guidelines to get started on setting rules for children under 8 years of age to follow when online. Think of these as a “cheat sheet.” Most of the children under 6 are not yet interactive (with the exception of virtual worlds, videos, educational games, YouTube and DS).
They are not yet using messaging, e-mail, text or chat technologies (to their parents' knowledge), without parental supervision or their heavy use of parental controls. This is changing, though, with many younger kids using interactive sites for preteens.
We advise that parents carefully supervise their kids’ use of these sites until they are old enough to understand risks online unless the sites have a safe site or other trusted seal of approval. If your kids are more interactive, use the tips for the next older group below.
8 to 10 Years:
Most are beginning to use interactive technologies, such as messaging, texts and cell phones, and the more precocious may also be trying to use social networking/profile sites, such as Instagram or Facebook, by lying about their age.
Cyberbullying starts to expand at this age. Cell phones are becoming more common in this age group, as are all gaming devices, handheld and laptops. Spyware is typically a real problem at this age too, as they begin to download things and use game cheat and code sites, usually rampant with spyware.
Kiddie hackers start their tricks often during these early years. (And they may include your child or one of his friends.) Keep intruders out with a firewall. And passwords, as with all ages, are the root of all cyber-evil. Choose one that is easy to remember, but hard to guess and is different for each site.
Older Preteens (11 – 12 year olds)
Most in this age range are now using interactive technologies and many have cell phones at this age. All are playing interactive games, some on handheld gaming devices or desktop devices, some on their cell phones or iPods, some on their PCs and some online.
Parental controls become trickier with they reach 11 or 12, because they tend to over-block the sites they want and need. The settings become complicated and the fit is rarely right.
They are also entering the prime of their cyberbullying life. Social networks/profile sites are a growing problem at this age. This is the age range is when the trouble usually begins. They want to be “older” and do what they think teens do. That means they are taking risks by the truckload.