Rules and measures: How children can surf the Internet safely

Whether it is at school or at home – most children enjoy surfing the Internet. Studies show that children are using computers, tablets and smartphones earlier and earlier. Due to the corona pandemic, children’s usage behavior has changed significantly in the past two years alone: ​​Homeschooling, gambling or simply chatting with friends – children spend more and more time on the Internet. And many parents wonder how they can ensure that their children are safe online.

Udo Lihs is project manager at DigiBitS, the school project for “Deutschlandsicher im Netz eV”. He recommends that parents turn on privacy settings on the devices and applications their child uses. Social networks popular among children, such as TikTok or Instagram, offer the option to make the account private. This means that only the closest friends and family members can see what their child posts.

Guidelines for safe internet surfing

Parents take it for granted that they give their children rules and tips for going to school and socializing with friends, family and strangers. But it is equally important to give them guidelines for the digital world. “The first and most important step should be an open conversation with the children. It is important for the parents to stay up to date with the current potential threats and to educate the children about the dangers and risks. For this to work, the parents have to do it. one thing above all: To show an interest in their child’s online behavior,” says Oliver Kunzmann, security expert at Avast.

Avast One: The security package for the whole family

Parents should discuss these things with their child

1. Children must also respect copyright
Music, images, videos and software may not be used or shared with friends without the consent of the author or the purchase of a license. Explain to your child which sites are safe to use certain content and which are also legal. For example, if your child knows that you have to pay for the online game in advance, deliberate or accidental license violations will not happen as quickly.

2. Lies also exist on the Internet
Talk to your child that not every opinion circulating on social media is true and not all videos and pictures are real. A healthy degree of distrust is important because it is often not clear where information and content come from.

3. Prevent malware
Kids like to browse websites that offer free versions of video games that are actually paid for. These free versions are often infected with malware. Explain to your child that nothing is ever free on the Internet. In this way, you avoid not only unpleasant copyright consequences, but also an attack on personal data by cybercriminals.

4. Personal data must remain personal
Home or school addresses, cell phone numbers, and information about family members, such as names of parents or siblings, must remain confidential. The same applies to the child’s name. Find a nickname with your child that they like to use to log into games or social media platforms. Explain to him how important it is to protect his own privacy. The more personal information children share, the easier it is for criminals to discover their and their family’s identities.

5. What applies to personal data also applies to passwords
Just as you teach children to take good care of their wallets, you should also teach your youngsters that it is equally important to protect mobile phones and application passwords. In this way, you prevent strangers or friends of the children from abusing it.

6. Children need social rules of conduct
Hateful speech and cyberbullying affect both adults and children. Explain to your child what is and isn’t okay when interacting digitally with others. Make it clear to your child that he does not have to be ashamed of being offended on the Internet, but can come to you for help. But also explain to him that he must observe netiquette himself.

7. Not everyone is your friend
The term cybergrooming describes targeted addressing in forums, chat rooms, social networks, messengers or other platforms to initiate sexual contacts. And yes, this is a difficult subject to tackle. But just as we tell children, “Don’t date strangers,” we also need to make them understand that not everyone on the Internet is who they say they are. Explain to your child that they also need to be extra careful with strangers online. The same applies to online acquaintances who suddenly start behaving strangely and asking for personal data, pictures, money or the like. What to do? Block immediately and send a message to the social network!

8. Use child search engines
There are safe places for children online. Children’s search engines such as fragFinn or Blinde Kuh offer fun – and safety. There is a lot to discover on the site: exciting articles to learn, kid-friendly news to find out, videos to entertain and little games. And for parents, there are tips for more safety on the Internet.

Avast One: The security package for the whole family

You can get additional information about internet safety, such as tips on how to use digital media safely, information about online threats or help with cyberbullying and hate speech from organizations such as

In addition, you can also increase your security in the network with the appropriate software. Designed for families and multi-device, the Avast One security suite has active virus protection and many other useful tools such as VPN for safe and anonymous surfing. COMPUTER BILD editor-in-chief Dirk General-Kuchel recently spoke with Avast security expert Florian Förster about children’s safety on smartphones and PCs.

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