How To Stay Safe On The Web As A Child

The Internet offers you countless opportunities to find pictures and information, talk to others or watch funny videos. It is probably one of the best inventions of our time. That’s why it’s basically a good thing if your parents allow you to surf the Internet. However, before you explore this big world of your own on your own, you should let your parents show you what to watch out for.

The following tips will help you navigate the web safely.

How To Stay Safe: 10 Tips For Young Internet Users

No. 1: Rip-off? No, Thanks!

The Internet is a place where not everything is free. You have to pay money for many sites or programs. Unfortunately, you don’t always notice that at first glance. That’s why you should always ask yourself, “Are you sure this doesn’t cost anything?” If you’re not sure, it’s better to look at the website with your parents. They have more experience with the Internet and can often assess such things better than you.

Be especially careful with games that you can download for free. Some of them are only free at the beginning. After a while, you will be prompted to buy the full version or additional features in the game. Even if you use your own pocket money for this, you should remain cautious. Even adults quickly lose track of what they want and become addicted to such games.

No. 2: Watching Movies On The Internet – It’s Not Always Legal!

Movies, books and music are rarely free. After all, most artists also want to receive money for their works. Many young people watch movies via so-called streaming sites. These are Internet sites where you can watch countless movies for free on your PC. However, this brings with it some problems. On the one hand, because it is illegal and therefore punishable by law. On the other hand, because you usually have to click away at least five advertising websites to get to the movie. Most of these websites are not intended for children.

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Legal and convenient are streaming providers for which you have to pay a small monthly amount. Most of the time, it’s so small that you could pay it out of some of your pocket money.

Youtube is also a good alternative. This is a site where anyone (including you) can upload or watch videos. You need to register to do this. I’m sure your parents will be happy to help you.

No. 3: Adblock – Because Advertising Is Not Only Annoying, But Also Dangerous

As a rule, you should only surf the Internet on children’s sites or with the help of children’s search engines. There, you are usually not exposed to advertising. If you are on other sites, you can use Adblock. This is a program with which you can prevent the appearance of advertising banners.

Advertising on the Internet can be quite unpleasant. Sometimes you unintentionally click on it when a page is flooded with ads. Then you end up on pages that offer paid products or are not suitable for children. That’s why you should install Adblock or a similar program.

No. 4: Mistrust Is Okay.

When you are on the Internet chats or forums, you meet all kinds of people. Unfortunately, you usually can’t see the person you’re talking to. That’s why you don’t know who’s really behind them. It’s best not to get involved in conversations with strangers. If you are not sure about friend requests, it is better to ask.

No. 5: Even On The Internet, Not Everyone hHs To Know Everything About You.

Would you give your address to a stranger on the street? Just as you don’t do this in real life, it should be taboo on the Internet. Don’t just give out pictures or contact information about yourself. Even if you’ve been writing to someone on the Internet for a while, you should try to remain anonymous. Anonymous means that no one knows your real name, your appearance or your address.

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It helps to use nicknames instead of your real name. Think of a funny fantasy name or use the name of your favorite animal, for example, by which your Internet friends know you.

By the way, if someone pressures you to give them your contact information, be sure to ask an adult for help. Do not give in under any circumstances, but do not speak to this person again. Not only children, but also adults want to remain anonymous on the Internet. So stick to this in order to use the Internet like the grown-ups.

No. 6: What Does “Privacy” Actually Mean?

Everybody has secrets. No one wants you to know everything about them. Moreover, in some situations, people like to be alone (for example, when taking a shower). In short: we need a certain amount of privacy. This space for private things is a need that you should not forget even when surfing the Internet. It’s very easy and quick to post things about yourself that you may later regret. So think carefully about what others can and cannot know about you.

Also be aware that what you post once, write in an email or chat, can not be easily removed from the Internet. Pictures and texts can easily be saved on your PC. If someone has saved your pictures or texts, you have hardly any influence on them.

When using Facebook or WhatsApp, you should therefore take a look at the privacy settings.

With Facebook, you can set who can see your content and who can contact you. If you want to know more about Facebook, read one of our articles about it.

WhatsApp gives you a few choices when it comes to displaying your profile picture, your status, or when you last visited. Take a close look at these options and make changes where you want.

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No. 7: Bullying Is Not Allowed – Not Even On The Internet.

Bullying refers to teasing in real life, but also on the Internet. Unfortunately, it happens all the time. This is another reason why you should not tell anyone everything about you.
If you notice that someone is making fun of others, it is up to you to get help immediately. Talk to teachers, older children, or your parents about it.

If you become a target yourself, first delete all unpleasant comments made by other children. Then you have to report to the operator of the website. After all, anyone who sends unpleasant messages or posts is breaking the rules of Facebook and Co. That’s why inappropriate content will be deleted if you report it.

Under no circumstances should you remain alone with your worries or allow bullying to continue.

No. 8: Why You Shouldn’t Believe Everything You Read On The Internet.

Some people spread news that is not true. Videos and pictures can also contain false information. Sometimes pictures and videos are edited with a program and no longer show reality.

This is because on the Internet everyone can write what they want. Therefore, you should not believe everything you read. It’s best to stick to children’s sites when you surf the Internet. There you will usually find articles written by experts.

If you receive threats or read e-mails that ask you to do something, remain skeptical and ask the sender immediately. Under no circumstances should you immediately follow a request on the Internet!

No. 9: Children’s Search Engines, Children’s Sites And Children’s E-Mail Services

With the help of search engines, children all over the world search for interesting pages on the Internet. A search engine essentially consists of an input field. For example, you can type in the search word “cat”. When you click on the button next to the input field, the search engine shows you a list of websites that match your search term. This makes it easier to find your way around the Internet.

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There are special search engines for children. You can find out more about them in the corresponding article on our homepage.

In addition to search engines for children, there are also children’s chats and children’s e-mail services. A chat is a website where you can talk to others. You can also find a list of the best children’s chats and tips on how to use them on our homepage.

No. 10: Email Address – Are You Old Enough For It?

Anyone who can read and write can set up their own e-mail address. However, this only applies if parents allow it. E-mails are “electronic messages”, i.e. letters that you write on your PC and send to others.

Not every child is independent enough to have his or her own e-mail address. You should be familiar with the Internet and know what to look out for. You should also be able to read well so that you don’t unintentionally end up on unwanted websites.

Talk to your parents about this and find out more about e-mail for children on our homepage.

Worksheet For The Text

1) Explain the difficult words in the text.
What does…

  • Streaming
  • Bullying
  • Email
  • Search engines
  • Chat
  • Privacy
  • Adblock
  • Youtube

2) Which tip did you find most useful? Write down here what you remembered from it.

3) Do you have a Facebook or WhatsApp account? Take a closer look at the settings. What did you change?

4) Why can’t you believe everything you read on the Internet? Talk about it with the person sitting next to you.

Photo: Omino di Carta /

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