My brother and I have run a martial arts school for nearly 18 years. From day one we both understood the responsibility we had to teach our students how to protect themselves. We teach our students how to protect themselves from a punch, from a kick, from someone trying to grab them, and even from a weapon attack. As important as it is to teach our students from a physical attack, our changing world also requires us to teach our students how to protect themselves on the internet. Students, here are some things kids and teens can do to stay safe on the internet:
Protect your privacy
Always check with your parent or guardian before sharing personal information like your name, address, phone number, birth date, school, or password. It is also wise to make your online profile generic and anonymous. Strangers do not need to know personal things about you.
Protect your reputation
You should behave as respectfully on the internet as you do in your home or in your classroom. Do not publish anything on the internet that you would not want your friends, family, teachers, pastors, or future employers to see. Communicate clearly and politely, just as you would in person.
Protect your instincts
If you see something online or are asked something online that seems wrong, your instinct is probably correct. Be sure to tell your parent or guardian if you are unsure or uncomfortable when you are on the internet. Trust your instincts.
Protect your sanity
Do not spend so much time on the internet that you forget how beautiful God’s creation is. Spend time having face-to-face conversations. Read a good book. Ride your tricycle. Build a fort. Do some pushups. Abraham Lincoln did not become a great president by defeating the Pokemon Sith Squibs in a single Fortnite, he disciplined himself and worked hard –and he did so without the assistance of his iPhone 284.
Kuyper friends, I encourage you to be smarter than the bad guys we are supposed to avoid –protect yourself at all times.
The question then becomes: Who are you impacting? Who is watching what you do? Who knows you and follows you? Do you want your kids or your friends learning from you? You are being watched. Someone is learning from you. Be a good friend or a good parent and live a life worth following. Have a great impact.