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Hi, welcome to Internet Safety for Kids and thank you for joining our program!
As always with our program Internet Safety for Kids, please make sure to watch this episode together when possible, so you all learn and understand these important topics. Don’t allow the adults to say that they already know everything because there will be plenty to learn for them, too!
You might have heard that you should not talk to strangers. This is of course not just about not talking to strangers. It means you should also not go with them or allow them to enter your house and things like that. On the internet, there are a lot of strangers and you should also not talk to them. That is our topic for today.
We will explain why is it important, what does it mean, and what should you do. Are you with us?
OK, do not talk to strangers, also not on the internet. In real life it can be simple to know who the strangers are. You know your family and your friends, your neighbors, and your teachers. You know them in person, and you can recognize their face. Simple, right? On the internet it is much more complicated. There are almost 5 billion internet users worldwide and everyone is somehow connected to everyone else because that is how the internet works. How are you supposed to know who the strangers are?
The first step is very simple. Everyone you do not know in person is a stranger! That was easy, wasn’t it? But now we have to put that into actions to protect you and your privacy. Here are some practical tips for you to help you make this happen.
- Make your social media profiles private and only allow people you know to follow you or connect with you.
- Set your messaging apps to only accept messages from you own contacts. The good apps already do this automatically.
- Do not share your phone number with people you do not know.
- Do not respond to people you do not know.
With these steps you make it difficult for strangers to send you messages but not impossible. Depending on the app, strangers can still send you messages or add you to group chats. Make sure that you do not accept these messages and always leave groups with people you do not know. Not giving your phone number to people you do not know is an important protection of your privacy because the good apps check on contact data before they allow messages.
But we have to keep in mind that there are many other ways in which strangers can try to contact you. For example, through messaging in games, or streaming platforms. It is important that you always check if you know the person and when you do not know the person, it is best to ignore the message. On some platforms you can even block that account to make sure that they can not contact you again.
Maybe you are asking yourself why it is so important not to talk to strangers on the internet? With people you do not know you will also not know what their intensions are. You do not know if they are just being kind or if they want something from you. That can be that they will try to get information from you which they can use to harm you and others. Maybe they will try to convince you to install something of which they make you believe that it is great but in reality, it is a virus, and you will lose all your data.
There are many bad people with bad intensions, and the internet makes it very easy for them to contact and harm others. They can pretend to be someone else, or they can hide their real identity behind a fake profile. Some even pretend to be a famous person and make you believe that your idol is talking to you. I understand that it is very difficult to know who is real and who is not. Your best defense is to follow these simple rules.
- Do not talk to strangers on the internet
- Everyone you do not know in person is a stranger
- Do not respond to people you do not know
- Do not share personal information online
- When in doubt, ask an adult you know
When you protect your own privacy, you are also protecting the privacy of other people. Most of all, you are protecting the privacy of your family and friends. And when they do the same, you will all be much safer on the internet. When you want to learn more about privacy and social media, I recommend that you watch our second episode of Internet Safety for Kids. You can find all episodes on our website and on YouTube.