Internet Safety and Your Mentee
January 31, 2023

Online school assignments, perusing the internet, gaming and interacting with others through social media are daily, on-going practices for our youth.  While parents and teachers are the first line of defense for educating them about internet safety, mentors can be an important secondary support in protecting their mentee from the pitfalls and dangers of interacting online. Talking about internet safety in a caring, respectful way with your mentee can build trust and lay the groundwork for them to feel safe coming to you if they have questions or encounter something scary.   You can approach the topic by asking questions like:

  • What are your favorite things to do online? 
  • Do you know what  personal information is? Why should you keep it private? 
  • What could you do to be safer online? 
  • What would you do if anyone online asked to meet you face-to-face? 
  • Besides me, who do you feel you can talk to if you are in a scary or uncomfortable situation?

The internet, including social media, is an ever-changing landscape. It is important for mentors to stay informed about threats kids face online so we can support and guide them towards making safer choices.  There are many excellent resources available on the web to educate caring adults on this topic. Visit these informative sites to stay current.

  • Netsmartz is a virtual cornucopia of information for online safety.  It has helpful videos, and much more, to guide meaningful discussions on internet safety with children and youth.
  • Netsmartz has created a safety pledge for children to help them learn about good “netiquette.”  This meaningful tool not only teaches them about safety but encourages responsibility. 
  • Common Sense Media is the nation’s leading non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of all kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in the 21st century.   If you would like to know more about the apps your mentee visits, this site provides in-depth reviews.  Additionally, you can find reviews of movies, books, tv shows, games and much more.

A special thanks to the Center for Child Protection, a nationally accredited, non-profit children’s advocacy center in Travis County, for providing this information to Seedling Mentors in our January Mentor Training. You can view the power point here.

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