The internet is such an important part of our lives today that we take certain things for granted. We expect that our children understand how to use the internet safely and not wind up getting themselves in some kind of trouble. However, they may not understand exactly what they need to do to remain safe while surfing the web.
Probably the most important lesson you can teach your child is that of privacy. They need to understand that you do not tell people you meet on the internet private things about yourself or your family. This includes your real name, what school you go to, where you live, or any other facts about yourself.
Children who understand this are much less likely to find themselves in a compromising position with someone they meet on the internet. There may be a case where your child does meet a friend on the internet that they want to meet in real life. This is a situation that you need to handle as a family. If you do decide to allow them to meet an online friend you should find a way for you and your child to meet this friend in a public place.
Make sure you meet this other child’s parents too, so that you can all be certain you are on the same page. Just because you meet a friend on the internet doesn’t mean that you can’t one day be “real life” friends too, anyone who does this simply needs to be very careful so they do not wind up in a situation that is not as it may seem.
Your child may be aggravated at you for having rules and guidelines about internet safety but you only have their best interests in mind. When they get a bit older they will certainly understand why you worried and will be very glad that you did.