Nov. 20 is World Children’s Day, a UNICEF global day of action that aims to promote the rights of children from all across the world.
Under this year’s theme “Inclusion, For Every Child,” young people are standing up for a more equal and inclusive environment to help build a better future.
Children today grow up surrounded by digital technologies that are instrumental in molding the way they communicate, socialize, play and get information. However, this ever-growing dependence on online environments also exposes kids to harmful content and individuals, as well as bad behaviors such as bullying and exclusion that can damage their mental and physical welfare.
Helping kids create a positive footprint in cyberspace and equipping them with the appropriate skillsets to navigate the internet safely from an early age is key to protect them from harmful content and exploitation, and to ensure they become responsible digital citizens.
No child should suffer exclusion or bullying, online or offline. Make the most of this event to teach young ones about their rights and responsibilities online:
No parent wants to learn that their child has been labeled as a bully. Adults are responsible for teaching kids to treat others with respect and kindness, no matter their differences, including race, religion, appearance or economic status. Parents and guardians should encourage good online and offline behavior and be vigilant against any unkind interactions that can bring serious consequences and interfere with their overall success in life and keeping healthy relationships.
Everything your child does online can impact their digital footprint and online reputation. Remind your child to think before they post any mean comments online. Kids should never engage in nasty online communication with others, or turn to hurtful language or hate speech.
Young children are easily influenced by the opinions of others and online trends. You can encourage and teach your child to think critically about what others promote online and always reassure them that it’s ok to speak up and report offensive online behaviors.
Reckless online behavior and oversharing of personal data can lead to serious privacy issues and even bullying. Ensure that your child understands the importance of keeping data, particularly sensitive information, private. Additionally, remind them to always use their privacy settings to protect against malicious individuals, including bullies.
Children can have a hard time coping with daily social challenges. Young people can help put a stop to negative online habits and cyberbullying by reporting bad behavior, blocking those responsible for nasty comments, and showing empathy, and understanding towards those who are bullied frequently. Of course, let your child know that they can always turn to you when anything they see online scares them or makes them uncomfortable.
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For more info tips and tricks on how to ensure kids' digital safety, visit this dedicated guide.