6 Things to Remember While Teaching Internet Safety

By Kaitlynn Christiansen 

Our children truly have the world at their fingertips. They are growing up in an age unlike any other and have access to new and accelerated types of learning. The advances made possible by the internet play a huge part in that. The many benefits of the internet are well known. However, with the good comes the bad. When used incorrectly, the internet can be a platform for many negative activities. As parents, the dilemma falls on us to safely guide our children towards the positive that the internet provides and steer them clear of the many dangers that lurk. 

One of the biggest things we must realize is that this dilemma is not an all-or-nothing scenario. Though it will take some extra time and effort, you can teach your children safe internet practices. These five practices will help you begin on your journey.

  1. Create Safe, Open Communication from the Beginning

The first thing we must do if we are to be successful is include the children in the   conversation. That connection and trust is absolutely essential when it comes to their safety. Have a family meeting and discuss the dangers of the internet. Talk to them about the things in this article, along with any additional information that you research. 

  1. Good and Bad Content

When discussing the internet with your children, explain to them that the internet has good and bad content. With younger kids, you can talk about the websites they are allowed to go on. Teach them that bullying, pornography, and other inappropriate things are dangers on the internet. Build that bond of trust so that they will feel safe telling you if they come across an inappropriate scenario.

  1. Never Give Out Personal Information

Kids should be warned about giving out their personal information to anyone or anything on the internet. Anything having to do with personal information is for parents to take care of. A good rule of thumb is to remember that anyone who needs to know that information should already know it, or be asking a parent and not a child. 

  1. No Secrets

If there is ever something on the internet kids feel they have to keep secret, they probably shouldn’t be doing it. A good practice is to teach children that nothing about their internet usage should be secret. Also, if anyone on the internet ever tells them to keep secrets, they should tell their parents right away. Predators will often tell young children to keep their interactions a secret so that their parents won’t get mad, or even threaten the safety of their family. Assure them that you would never be angry at them for speaking up and trying to be safe. 

  1. Filters and Why They Are Important

Talk with your children about internet filters and invest in some for your family. Internet filters, such as Bark and Norton, help you filter websites and monitor internet activity on your devices. Be honest with your children about the filters and their purposes. They are for safety. 

  1. Having Limited Internet Time is Important

Finally, teach your children that while the internet is amazing, having creative time in the real world is so important. By limiting screen time in your homes, you can vastly reduce the risk of your children getting caught up in the dangers of the internet. 

Limiting screen time will also protect their mental and emotional health. The Crimes Against Children Research Center says that the mental health decline that we have seen in children over the past few years can be directly tied to high amounts of internet usage. Social media sites and other interactive apps are the biggest dangers because they subject children to pro-suicide agendas, bullying, and addictive behaviors. One of the best ways to teach your children internet safety is to teach them to balance the internet usage with their real lives. 

We really are so incredibly lucky to live in this day and age. The internet is so useful and gives us so much that we didn’t have even fifty years ago. Moderation and safety practices are key. As parents, we must be diligent. Remember that internet safety is an ongoing discussion and journey. 

For more ideas on how to help children learn about internet safety, check out our book: Noah’s New Phone: A Story About Using Technology for Good.

Kaitlynn Christiansen is an elementary teacher who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Marriage and Family Studies from Brigham Young University-Idaho. She loves to learn and is passionate about educating families about healthy relationships. 


Finkelhor, D. (n.d.). (rep.). The Internet, Youth Safety and the Problem of “Juvenoia” (pp. 1–32). University of New Hampshire.

O., E. W. (2020, February 7). 23 great lesson plans for internet safety. Common Sense Education. https://www.commonsense.org/education/articles/23-great-lesson-plans-for-internet-safety

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