Discussion Guide

Making “Friends” Online, Safely

If your child has access to the internet, they may begin to encounter and engage with strangers online. You can help kids identify safe online relationships, and teach them when and how to cut things off when needed.
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Introduction

Why talking about this is important

Kids at this age are interested in making friends and engaging in group activities, and it’s common for them to want to connect with others online, especially around common interests and games. This is an important time to start developing their judgment and relationship skills, preparing them to build safe online friendships and avoid harmful ones.

In this guide you will:

  • Help your child understand online interactions are complicated because you don’t always know who people are, their intentions, or what they mean.
  • Identify warning signs of risky interactions.
  • Teach your child when and how to get help.

What to expect from your kid

Kids are likely forthcoming and willing to share at this age, but each individual is unique. Be sure to balance the conversation to meet their needs for pacing and comfort level. This is key as you have these conversations, helping them learn the good and the bad as you navigate giving them various levels of access to online friends.

First steps

How to start talking

Your kids may not always want to talk about their friends or who they interact with online, but you can encourage the conversation by proactively sharing warning signs that someone or something isn’t safe. Here are some key moments to consider:
  • Asking for a new app or game.
  • Talking about a game they love playing online.
  • They begin to use their first social media platform.

What’s your favorite game to play right now?

Conversation Script

Let's play this out

Related Discussion Guides

As your kids get older and gain access to their own devices, there will be more opportunities to connect with strangers online, in good and bad ways. We’ve developed the scripts above to make it easy to transition to one of these other discussion guides.

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