The Internet Safety Tip I Didn’t Think to Explain

I thought we’d covered the major internet safety tips for kids.

Don’t share personal info online: usernames/gamer tags shouldn’t include your first and last name, don’t share your school, teacher, address, city, phone number, etc. Don’t talk to anyone you don’t know.

If something on the screen isn’t something that mom and dad would be okay seeing, then you shouldn’t be seeing it, either.

Be kind. Know that what you share could go out to anyone, not just who you think you’re sharing it with.

My kids don’t just hear this from us, they hear it at school, too. They teach internet safety rules and go over and over them. My oldest, who is in third grade, uses laptops/iPads every day in class and his teacher has done a great job reinforcing these safety rules.

I’ve shown my oldest how I edit pics to share online. How I cropped out our house number from this one, blurred out the name of his school from that one, didn’t post that one because I couldn’t edit out our license plate number.

When he found out about foursquare, I explained why I don’t check in at his school or our house.

I thought I had it all under control, especially since he’s too young for social networks, so I wasn’t having to worry about those yet. But dang, I was on top of this.

internet safety


Yeah, notsomuch.

One night, Hubs and I were watching a movie in the family room when our oldest walked down the stairs, looking at his iPad. He said “Iron Man is coming on, can we watch that?”

Hubs and I looked at each other, confused.

Oldest went on to tell us that “(GamertagICantRemember) said that it’s about to come on so he has to go, can we watch it, too?”

And this is when we discovered that even though I’d told him and Hubs had told him and he’d heard it a bunch of times at school, our son thought that “don’t talk to anyone you don’t know online” meant actually talking. He didn’t realize that a typed chat fits in that category because it’s not TALKING.

We had to have another discussion about this very important rule and become a little more aware of what games have a chat option(this one was Minecraft, Hunger Games mode).

I’m sharing this because I had thought saying not to talk to anyone they don’t know was self-explanatory, but it wasn’t(especially when you consider how literal kids can be) and now I know to be clearer on this with mine- and maybe your kids might need this cleared up, too.

What internet safety rules have you set with your kids?


  1. says

    Whoa! So glad you wrote about this. We have strict parental controls on our computer for our boys. They are only allowed on some sites that have been approved by us. Meaning we “allowed” it with our password. They aren’t allowed to YouTube videos or Google images without our presence. Even some videos has to be screened by us before watching. My oldest (who we had the sex talk with a few weeks ago) is aware of inappropriate images. HOWEVER, we’ve never had the ‘no chatting online with anyone’ safety talk. THANK YOU for bringing awareness to this. 
    Dianne recently posted..Abby’s Survival Blog TourMy Profile

    • Shell says

      Mine have found terrible youtube videos. They’ll watch things that are appropriate and then the “related videos” are definitely not, but they won’t realize at first b/c it’s a subject they watch, but all of a sudden, there’s inappropriate language. 

  2. says

    I think that this is an issue that many parents tend to forget and pass right on by. My ex husband used to do a lot of online gaming, PC and console, and I was shocked as to how many weirdos were actually on there. The internet can be such a dangerous place, sometimes more dangerous than everyday life. It’s so important to education our children on internet and game safety!
    Jessica recently posted..Tackling Your Summer Skincare Woes With HSN + My 9 Essentials! #SummerSkinMy Profile

    • Shell says

      Oh, I know! Mine asked about instagram. I said no for now, falling back on how instagram’s terms of service say he’s too young. 

  3. says

    Oh- I think i will have to make sure my kids understand this too.  My kids play minecraft but they don’t play in the modes that they can chat with anyone yet and I don’t think I am going to let them anytime soon.  
    Emmy recently posted..Summer DaysMy Profile

    • Shell says

      I really had no idea that mine were until this happened. I was so clueless about the game! (still am, really, but at least we cleared this part up)

    • Shell says

      My oldest is 9. I don’t let him have any social media accounts yet. I just don’t see a reason for it at this point. Plus, all of them have terms of service that generally say you have to be 13, so we’re waiting. We’ll see what social media looks like when he’s 13 and decide what is appropriate then.

  4. says

    It’s so true that kids are as literal as can be! It was easier for me because we had one point of access online in our house and it was a shared computer which was in the family room. That made monitoring a lot easier.
    Liz Mays recently posted..Asian-style Pan NoodlesMy Profile

  5. says

    Very great point to stress, and very kind of you to share. I can see something like this getting lost in transition (totally not on purpose!) in our house too.

  6. says

    Internet safety is so important and something that is constantly changing. My children are still too little to use it, but these are great points you brought up.
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  7. says

    I can totally see this happening. Kids take things literally – and they also feel safe and protected behind a computer screen. 

  8. says

    It is very important to talk with our children about the internet all the time. As the internet grows more pervasive more and more dangerous things are at our children’s disposal.