Every parent’s wish is that their kids explore the digital world without exposing themselves to its risks. The internet is a wonderful place, but it can quickly become dangerous, especially for kids.

Teaching our children how to stay safe online is crucial today. Depending on their age, they should be able to protect their personal information and even recognize online threats when they see them. There are a few lessons we must teach them before it’s too late.

How to teach your kids about online safety

Although it can seem overwhelming, there are a couple of things you need to consider if you want your kids to stay safe in the digital world. Let’s go over them here.

1. Start with the basics

Before you start pontificating about internet security to them, your kids should know what the internet is and how it works. Define it in simple terms: the internet is a digital playground where people from all over the world can communicate with each other and share information.

  • Keep things simple: yes, the topic isn’t simple, but break it down to its bones if you need to. Compare the internet to anything they might understand, like a library where you can find every book in the world, for example.
  • Don’t use fear with them: instead, highlight all the positive sides of the internet. Fun, games, learning differently and dynamically, and even friends.
  • Don’t skip over the risks: the easiest comparison here is the real world. There are many beautiful places in the world, and others not so much. The internet is the same. If they mustn’t speak with strangers on the streets, they shouldn’t do it online either.

2. Protect their information

Their full name, address, phone number, and school name should be confidential. Teach them to be very cautious when sharing details online, especially if they’re interacting in chat rooms or have profiles on social media.

They need to be mindful of strangers, not scared, but very cautious. Children and teenagers, especially. There are useful apps that can educate them while they play.

Unfortunately, research indicates that only 28% of parents have installed software to protect their online privacy on computers, 17% on mobile devices, and 15% on gaming consoles. This means that many kids are unsafe or, at the very least, unsupervised online.

3. Teach them to create strong passwords

Everyone needs to have strong passwords on their devices, but kids especially. The passwords must be unique for every account. Help them create a few passwords that combine letters, numbers, and special characters. Warn them against using guessable words, like their birthday or their pet’s name.

Consider this:

  • Use passphrases instead of passwords: try not to come up with a random string of characters. Instead, suggest passphrases that are easy to remember and still undecipherable. For example, “Ilov3MyPetG0ldfish!” is both strong and memorable.
  • Get a password manager: everyone can handle a password manager app or program. These can store everyone’s passcodes and make it easier to manage their accounts without forgetting how to access them.
  • Update regularly: passwords need to be regularly updated. Make sure to highlight how important this is, and set a routine for this. Every few months, sit with your kids and come up with new passwords.

4. Warn them against strangers

Every child in the world should understand the concept of “stranger danger.” Online or in real life. If you’re a single mom, teach them how to keep the home safe. They should never meet with someone they only know from a digital platform, and they should inform you of any uncomfortable interactions they have.

Encourage them to share with you everything that causes them to doubt or makes them feel strange. You should be their safe place, where they can go without feeling judged.

5. Teach them to recognize phishing attempts

Phishing scams are a danger for everyone, and the sooner anyone recognizes one of these attempts, the better. Even if you’re using virtual private networks, you can get attacked.

Teach your kids to differentiate a normal email from a phishing attempt, and tell them to delete any suspicious or unsolicited emails asking for personal information. They should recognize safe links and avoid clicking on everything they see as well.

6. Practice safe social media habits

There are safe practices for social media, and if you’re letting your kids have accounts on these, you need to educate them to stay safe. Their profiles should be private, and they shouldn’t accept just anyone into their circle of friends online. Especially educate them about bullying and harassment.

Remind them to delete people they feel uncomfortable with, and tell them to never feel guilty about removing someone from their friend list if they don’t know them that well. About cyberbullying, remember: 27% of kids admitted to doing or saying something cruel to someone else online. Don’t let them harass others or receive harassment.

To stay even safer, you could limit their screen time and help them find a healthy balance between offline and online activities.


When you teach your kids about internet security, you’re allowing them to enjoy their online experience without exposing themselves to its risks. It’s key that you keep an open communication with them and that you educate them if things change.