Six tips on teaching your children to be good Cyber Citizens.

Youths today have access to the newest technologies at their fingertips, including use of a computer at school or at home. This gives parents the added responsibility of teaching their children to engage in safe computer usage. To assist in talking to your children about cyber ethics, the BSA | The Software Alliance offers six tips below. This is designed to provide an easy reference teaching about respect for creative works online, appropriate computer downloading and peer-to-peer (P2P) technology usage.

The Six Tips:

  1. Computer Terms. Understand both technical and slang computer terms when referencing downloading, files sharing and other computer uses. For example, “ripping” is slang commonly used to describe copying. “Warez” (pronounced “ware-z”) is used to describe software that has been illegally stripped of its copyright protection.
  2. Appropriate and Legal. Know what is legal usage of a computer and software and what is not. For instance, personal, self-created works may be legally shared on P2P networks, but sharing copyrighted works without permission from the creator is illegal.
  3. Risks and Consequences. Share the risks and consequences associated with file-sharing, downloading and copying software, music, movies and games illegally. Parents are also urged to talk to children about the economics behind piracy and illegal uploading and downloading. Demonstrate that there are real consequences, both for themselves and for the authors of the creative works.
  4. Rules. Establish computer usage ground rules at home. These rules should reinforce what they are learning in school currently. Rules at school and rules at home should mirror one another.
  5. Present Alternatives. Offer incentives and legal alternatives to illegal file-sharing and downloading such as giving your children gift certificates or setting aside part of their allowance for purchasing music, software, games and other entertainment and educational products.
  6. Talk More. Continue to monitor your child’s computer habits and usage. Several conversations may be necessary as they develop an understanding of what is legal and safe and what is not.