Today’s children were born during the digital age, the Internet has become indispensable. It’s a great way to learn, play online games, watch videos or chat with friends. The Internet can be a place to relax and explore. However just like the real world, the Internet can also present dangers for children like child sexual abuse images and cyberbullying. There are ways to prevent risks and educate your child to help ensure their safety online.

Basic Internet Safety Rules

Before allowing your child to use the Internet on their own, we believe it is important to discuss the rules that should be followed. As a parent, it is your responsibility to keep track of what your children are doing. Here are a few tips you can use to help your children navigate the Internet safely:

  • Learning how the Internet works. The best way to learn how your child uses the Internet is to take an interest in it and to navigate with them.
  • Put in place a family contract of the rules that must be followed: authorized sites, duration of use etc.
  • Encourage your child to share their experiences, research the sites and apps they use to chat with their friends.
  • Address potential dangers, such as inappropriate content.
  • Remind them never to divulge personal information without your permission (name, address, phone number, etc.).
  • Explain to them that they should never accept a virtual friend on social media.
  • Encourage them to use a pseudonym that does not reveal anything about themselves (first name, gender, age, etc.)
  • Prioritize the use of the Internet in a common room that is accessible to the whole family and avoid installing it in your child’s room.
  • Monitor their Internet activities: install parental controls, view recorded content, check camera usage, track electronic communications.

It’s important that your child feels confident about talking to you about their online issues.

Our Advice for Talking About Internet Safety with your Children

Tip #1: Set Clear Rules

Establishing clear rules about how to use the Internet is essential to keeping your children safe online. Define clear rules for web access times and authorized sites. Explain the reasons behind these rules, focusing on the protection of their safety and privacy.

Ensure your children understand the consequences of breaking these rules, but also encourage them to ask questions and express their concerns.

By establishing clear limits, you help your children develop a responsible approach to using the Internet and making informed choices online.

Tip #2: Encourage Caution When Sharing Photos and Personal Information

It’s important to explain to your child that you do not want to monitor them, but rather inform them about the importance of online safety to make them more independent.

Today, children are setting up accounts at an increasingly younger age. However, be aware that the legal age to use most social media is 13 years-old and older. Despite the restriction, many children lie about their age and set up accounts without necessarily informing their guardians. Help them understand that because it’s easy to lie behind a screen, they should be wary of virtual friends. Personal information should never be disclosed online, particularly if they’re not 100% certain that it is a “real” friend.

During account creation, your child may want to use their real name to facilitate finding their friends. Using their last name is not recommended. You can help them create a secure, personal nickname for their social media and video games.

Tips #3:  Protect Their Account and Help Them Choose Secure Passwords

Your child’s password is the key for accessing their personal information: the stronger the password, the more secure their information is. It is important to have a secure password and to use different passwords for all accounts.

A strong password should include:

  • At least 12 characters
  • Uppercase/lowercase letters
  • Numbers and special characters
  • Words different from their personal information

If your child’s accounts are unprotected, they are vulnerable to malware that may infiltrate and/or damage their devices. It also increases the risk of phishing which is deceptive e-mails or misleading messages.

Encourage Them to Keep Their Accounts Private

Setting your child’s account as private is the key to protecting your child’s privacy. A public account provides access to all their photos/videos and their personal information which makes them more vulnerable to cyberbullying. To inform your child of the danger, Google their full name and show them any personal information you can find (photos, school, activities, etc.).

Now, How do you Set your Child’s Account to Private?

You can help your child set up their accounts. Most social media is organized the same way: Settings → Privacy → Select private account. If you need more precise information for certain applications, you can use a search engine by writing the name of the application followed by the word “private.” For example, you can search for ‘’TikTok private’’ or ‘’Instagram private’’.

Today, many children are interested in becoming influencers or streamers. According to a recent American survey, 54% of people between the ages of 13 and 38 want to go into these professions (source: Morning Consult). If your child aspires to become known on the Internet, we recommend that they create a personal private account and create a second one, accessible to everyone.

Tips #4: Keep an Eye on Your Children’s Online Activity

It is important to protect your child from certain inappropriate or offensive content. Parental controls allow your child to use the Internet independently and make the most of digital opportunities according to their age. It is important to guide them during their first experiences. Talk with them about what they are doing and what they are viewing. This will allow you to explain to them what the risks are on the Internet and how to safeguard them.

Please note that parental controls do not replace supervision and education but allow your child to navigate alone by blocking advertisements, images, texts, or videos with content that is offensive or unsuitable for their age. In some cases, it even allows you to define schedules, authorized days, and screen time, depending on the age of the user. This protection is essential but should come in addition to the teaching of good digital practices.

Tips #5: Follow the New Trends on Social Media

In a rapidly changing digital world, it’s essential to stay informed about the platforms and applications your children frequently use. Take the time to explore these platforms with them and become familiar with their confidentiality features and settings. Understand how the parental control tools on these platforms work and use them to limit access to inappropriate content. Discuss the risks associated with certain apps, such as oversharing personal information or interacting with strangers. By being aware of your child’s online activities, you will be able to guide them and advise them on the best practices to protect their privacy and online safety.

Tips #6: Communicate Openly with Your Children

Despite all these tips, it’s important to have an open and trusting relationship with your child so that they feel comfortable sharing their online experiences with you. Maintaining a healthy relationship is the best way to provide a safe environment for your child.

In Conclusion

Online safety for children is a major concern in our digital society. By establishing clear rules, encouraging open communication, and educating yourself about the platforms and applications your children use, you can help them stay safe online.

Together, as parents, educators, and members of society, it is our responsibility to educate ourselves and our children about the dangers of the Internet, while promoting their responsible exploration of this virtual world. By giving them the tools and advice, they need, we can help our children take full advantage of the Internet while remaining safe.