My Super Duper Round Up of Books about Online Safety to Give to Your Kids!

I often get asked by parents for recommendations on books that teach kids about navigating the online world. While I spend a lot of time reading books for adults on this topic and have a vast library of books to recommend to parents, I haven’t had a really good list of books for kids on the topic. Until now! I’ve finally put together a list of books that I think are great both for reading along with your kids and for them to read alone once they become more independent.

As part of my practice, I try to encourage all parents to teach their kids the habit of reading for pleasure every day. Adding this new topic of life online, a topic which is current and of great interest to kids will surely please even the most reading averse kids. I am a huge believer in the power of reading and stories to bond parents and kids and to teach lasting lessons. Some of the topics covered in these books (eg. porn) I’d MUCH rather your child learn from YOU - a trusted adult - than through researching online or asking friends.

Disclaimer: I have not read EVERY book on this list. Some of these books I’ve read myself and others have been recommended to me by parents and educator whom I trust. The descriptions are pulled from the publishers, Amazon and authors themselves.

Ok! Enjoy and please do let me know your thoughts if you find one that you love!

Elementary:

General/ Safety:

When Charlie McButton Lost Power ages 4-9

Charlie McButton likes computer games so much, he never plays with anything else. When a thunderstorm knocks out the electricity, his tech empire comes tumbling down, and his whole world loses power.

Once Upon A Time Online ages 5-8

Once upon a time, a laptop arrived in Fairy-tale land... A happily ever after is only a click away! Find out what happens when our favorite fairy-tale characters receive a laptop and learn a lesson in online safety.

Berenstain Bears: Computer Trouble ages 4 - 9

When Papa brings home a computer, the whole family is excited. Soon Mama, Brother, Sister, and even Honey start spending all day every day staring at their own computers. It's up to Papa to get the family off the computer and back into the real world!

On the Internet: Our First Talk About Online Safety ages 6-9

Using real-world examples set within the context of a child who is using the Internet for the first time and watching an older sibling interact with social media, Dr. Roberts takes readers through several common scenarios around parental supervision, online bullying and anonymity. She also includes examples of people who use the Internet to make the world a better place.

Hey Zoey! Get Off Your Phone! ages 3- 7

Hey Zoey! Get Off Your Phone! is about a girl named Zoey who would rather play on her phone than with her friends. While she absentmindedly walks away from them, Zoey trips on a root of a tree, her phone flies out of her hand, and when she falls, she finds herself stuck inside her phone. After a most daring adventure in the digital realm, she realizes what's most important: her relationship with friends and family, not her phone.

But It’s Just a Game ages 7-11

Meet Jasper! A young boy who is totally absorbed with playing video games… This creative story book teaches both kids and adults how to switch out their game controller for a "life controller."

The Technology Tail ages 7-11

A cute, creative story about children and their texts, tweets, posts and pics. Don t be mean and irresponsible! That s the straight-to-the-point advice Screen has for young readers who are active on social media.

Cell Phoney ages 7-11

After much anticipation, Joanie Maloney finally gets her very own cell phone! Knowing that owning a cell phone requires responsibility and sound judgment, Joanie's mom requires her to complete a Cell Phone Safety Course.Along with Joanie, children will learn the six rules of cell phone usage which are designed not only to keep them safe, but also to keep them from being tempted to hurt others.

Books that teach about Pornography for younger kids:

Good Pictures/Bad Pictures Jr. ages 4- 7

Good Pictures Bad Pictures Jr. makes it easy for parents to protect their young kids ages 3 to 6. Using gentle, age-appropriate messages, children will learn to Turn, Run & Tell when they are accidentally exposed to inappropriate content.

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Someone Should Have Told Me ages 6-10

Someone Should Have Told Me is a book for adults to share with children. It uses colourful, fun illustrations and simple statements prefaced by “Someone should have told me…,” to help adults talk to children about potential online and face-to-face dangers. Key topics covered include: • children seeing pornography online • face-to-face and online grooming by predators • sexting and children exposing other children to pornography • questions to see whether children have understood the key concepts • information to support adults in their explanations of the potential dangers • what to do if a child has seen pornography

Not for Kids: Protecting Kids Online ages 6 - 9

Milly loves to explore and learn. One day while using her friend’s phone, she sees images that make her feel sick. Milly was lucky to have a safe adult to help her through this experience and she now teaches children that some adult behaviors can be harmful for kids to see.

Late Elementary and Middle School:

General/ Safety:

Diary of Elle Series ages 9+

The book series, Diary of Elle, informs and inspires children’s awareness of cyber-safety through fun stories in diary-format. Starring Elle (the diary-owner) and her friends, each book in the series of seven books will allow children to learn about a different cyber-safety concept through the experiences of other children.

Petra’s Power to See: A Media Literacy Adventure ages 9-12

Join Petra and her dad as they venture into the city to learn about the media messages all around us. We are surrounded by messages (media) our entire lives—most of the are beautiful! Some inspire us to learn and grow, but some messages are empty and unhealthy. Petra and her dad come face to face with clear and hidden messages in different media such as advertising, social media, movies, and fake news. They'll teach you about media literacy by helping you learn to deconstruct these messages together!

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Noah’s New Phone: A Story about Using Technology for Good ages 9-12

Noah has just received a smartphone for his birthday. Follow him as he discovers how it feels to be on the giving and receiving end of some not-so-friendly behavior online. See what choices he makes when he learns about the awesome power he holds in his hands. And learn about the ripples of change you can make with technology in your home, your school, your community, and the whole world.

Usborne: Staying Safe Online ages 9+

The book series, Diary of Elle, informs and inspires children’s awareness of cyber-safety through fun stories in diary-format. Starring Elle (the diary-owner) and her friends, each book in the series of seven books will allow children to learn about a different cyber-safety concept through the experiences of other children.

The Tech Savvy Users Guide to the Digital World ages 9-13

This guide is for the Tech Savvy tween and teen. You already understand how to text, post, share, comment and like. Now learn what happens with all of the information! The Tech Savvy User's Guide to the Digital World is an accurate, honest and entertaining workbook without all of the Do's and Don't!

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American Girl Series: A Smart Girls Guide to the Digital World ages 9 - 12

Just like the real world, the digital world is full of exciting, helpful, and even life-changing possibilities. And just as in the real world, you need to know how to navigate it wisely and keep yourself safe. With everything from quizzes that test safety smarts to advice on how to deal with cyberbullying, this book will get you started.

American Girl Series: A Smart Girls Guide to Drama, Rumors and Secrets ages 9 - 12

Watch out for the drama trap! This book offers expert insight into drama, from jealousy to gossip to cyberbullying, and how to deal with it. You'll learn why drama exists, how it starts, what keeps it going, and how to cool it down. You'll find quotes and advice from real girls like you, plus tips and quizzes to help you rise above the drama game and keep yourself safe.

How to Text Girls & How to Text Boys 9+

These fun and accessible illustrated guides are for preteens who are ready to take their first steps into the unchartered territory of crushes, social media, and texting in the digital age. Kelli Dunham gives tips on navigating the digital landscape while keeping "reputation safety" in mind. Not just about texting, this handbook doles out advice for successful communication in settings like classrooms, after-school activities, and hang-outs among friends.

Books about Pornography for slightly older kids:

(I only have 1 I like so far!)

Good Pictures/Bad Pictures Ages 9+

Good Pictures Bad Pictures is a comfortable, read-aloud story about a mom and dad who teach their child what pornography is, why it's dangerous, and how to reject it. Using easy-to-understand science and simple analogies, this ground-breaking book engages young kids to porn-proof their own brains.

The 5-point CAN DO Plan teaches kids how to avoid the brain-warping images of pornography and minimize the troubling memories of accidental exposure that often tempt kids to look for more and lead them into a dark and destructive addiction. To stay safe in the digital age, kids must install an internal filter in their own brain. Good Pictures Bad Pictures shows them how.

For Teens:

These are young adult (YA) chapter books for older teens. They touch on the familiar subjects of romance, drama, friendship and finding yourself, but with the new twist of online relationships and social media thrown in. All seem to have interesting lessons to impart about the value of real life relationships and how things can quickly go wrong online.

I have not personally read these books, but I did some research online and with other parents/kids and these got a lot of thumbs up.

#Famous

In this modern day love story: Girl likes boy. Girl snaps photo and posts it online. Boy becomes insta-famous. And what starts out as an innocent photo turns into a whirlwind adventure that forces them both to question whether fame—and love—are worth the price…and changes both of their lives forever.

Tell Me Three Things

Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week as a junior at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her step-monster and her pretentious teenage son.

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Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?

Kat and Meg Conquer the World

Kat and Meg couldn't be more different.

Kat's anxiety makes it hard for her to talk to new people. The only place she feels safe is in front of her computer, playing her favorite video game. Meg hates being alone, but her ADHD keeps pushing people away. Friends. Her boyfriend. Even the stepfather who raised her.

But when the two girls are thrown together for a year-long science project, they discover they do have one thing in common: their obsession with the online gaming star LumberLegs and his hilarious videos.

Eliza and Her Monsters

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, Eliza is LadyConstellation, anonymous creator of a popular webcomic called Monstrous Sea. With millions of followers and fans throughout the world, Eliza’s persona is popular. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves her digital community.

Then Wallace Warland transfers to her school and Eliza begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile. But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.

Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he's pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he's never met.

*Books to help Teens with Anxiety

Also, one of the main issues your teen may end up contending with is the anxiety that accompanies life online. Whether from FOMO or the stress of always having to respond, or constantly comparing oneself to others - life online can get overwhelming for teens. To that end I wanted to list these resources as well:

My anxious Mind: A Teens Guide to Managing Anxiety and Panic

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My Anxious Mind helps teens take control of their anxious feelings by providing cognitive behavioral strategies to tackle anxiety head-on and to feel more confident and empowered in the process. It also offers ways for teens with anxiety to improve their inter-personal skills, manage stress; handle panic attacks; use diet and exercise appropriately; and decide whether medication is right for them.

Anxiety Sucks! A Teen Survival Guide

Anxiety Sucks! A Teen Survival Guide is short and to the point. You are welcome. Have them read it. Practice it. Repeat. Kids don’t want to read long, boring books on anxiety. In my practice parents will often ask for book suggestions. I provide them. They buy them. The kids never read them. Trust me, I know. I ask the kids. I finally decided to write my own book that is short, to the point and offers a death blow to the anxiety dictator living in their head. A book I know kids will be able to get through in one or two sittings. A book that will teach kids how their little dictator rules their mind and tricks them into making their anxiety grow. And finally, a book that will help them develop mad skills to counterattack their dictator and show him who is boss. This book is perfect for any kid ages 9 and up.

*One last note. If your child is suffering from anxiety or depression - whether related to their online life or not - please do not rely solely on these book recommendations. Anxiety and depression in teens is worth taking very seriously so please consider consulting with an expert to best support your child’s mental health.