There never used to be classes in school teaching online safety tips. Whenever kids learned about safety all the situations they were warned about dealt with real world situations such as how they should never talk to strangers, never ride their bicycles without helmets, never leave a drink unattended at a party, or to never cross the street without looking both ways first. It was much easier back in the day to keep children safe from dangerous situations because we had more control over what they did, where they did it, and when they did it.
Now, with the internet, computers, portable electronics, and social media, there are so many scenarios that could potentially happen that we have very little control over. It's not just children we have to watch out for; it's adults too. Most people today use some form of social media, whether it's Ontario dentists who use Facebook to promote their dental practices or it's yourself using Twitter to post quick updates about what you're doing. Social media is everywhere and accessible by anyone, of any age, really.
As long as you have an e-mail address you can sign up for social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter. It's not like they check to see if you are of consenting age when you click to their terms of agreement when signing up for an account. So, if you're a parent with a socially interactive child who knows their way around the internet you should watch over them.
Try not to be too nosy when they're on the computer, but do ask them questions about what they're doing or who they're talking to. Make them understand the seedy seed of the internet and how there are people out there looking to take advantage of them in some way. If you talk to them with some respect the more likely they are to come to you if something fishy is happening to them online.
When it comes to your own social media activities online you should try to keep your personal information to a minimum while surfing the internet. You need to be careful about what you post about yourself, your job, your family, your friends, etc. Don't send out a Tweet saying you're going to be out of town for two weeks because that could be seen by someone who could then use that information to break into your home while you're on vacation.
Be smart and be safe with personal information you post online as there are cyber criminals out there looking to harm you. Find more tips at Internet Safety 101.