Don’t talk to strangers!

This isn’t something I can recall my parents telling me as a kid. Living on a farm with a maximum of twenty vehicles a day passing by gives you an idea of the remoteness of my upbringing.

But no matter where children are brought up today, in the city or the sticks, ‘don’t talk to strangers’ has a whole new meaning, and this was reinforced at a seminar I attended at my sons school recently.

It was to educate parents and their kids on online safety and how unsafe the online world can be. And with 90% of 5 to 15 years olds accessing online content, it’s something that every parent needs to take seriously.

Even though this was aimed at keeping children safe online, most of my learnings applies to all of us. So here’s my takeaways…

1) If you wouldn’t be comfortable in having something about yourself displayed on a high street billboard, don’t post it online.

2) Not everyone is who they say they are online, so beware.

3) Choose usernames for online accounts that doesn’t reveal your personal information.

4) Think before you share online, because once it’s online, it’s no longer under your control.

5) You have 886 friends on Facebook! The term friend has a very different meaning in the online community, so don’t expect too many of the 886 to come knocking on your door in your hour of need.

6) And lastly, if you wouldn’t be comfortable in saying something face to face, don’t text, email or message it.