Use these Internet Safety Tips to keep your kids (of all ages) safe and respectful in their online activities:
- TALK: Talk with your child about Internet safety as soon as he/she begins using the Internet. It is never too early or too late to start talking about safe and appropriate use of devices and Internet and its possible consequences.
- MONITOR: Use age-appropriate filtering, blocking and monitoring software on all Internet-enabled devices used by your child, including laptops, tablets, smartphones and video games. Monitor who your child is communicating with online. Get to know the websites your child is visiting, the apps they are using and other online activities they engage in.
- LIMIT: Set limits on “screen time” (keep in mind tv and school-day screen time).
- GUARD: Tell your child to be very careful about posting information online which could identify them or their typical hangouts including school teams they belong to, their place of work, street they live on, etc. This includes pictures wearing local sports outfits, etc.
- MEETING FACE-TO-FACE: Make sure your child knows never to meet someone they met online face-to-face without first talking with you about the situation. Predators are very skilled at portraying whatever persona they wish, complete with fake pictures.
- PASSWORDS: Make sure you know all passwords for your children’s apps and devices. Tell your child to never share their passwords with anyone else, including friends. A ‘funny’, innocent, or intentionally mean post done by a friend on your child’s account could be very damaging.
- REPUTATION: Explain the consequences of posting inappropriate material online. It is easier to say or do online that which you might not do face to face. A child’s reputation and friendships can be easily damaged by a one bad status entry or picture posted online and undoing damage can be difficult to impossible.
- TEXTING: Monitor your child’s mobile phone usage and review text messages sent and received, including images downloaded and uploaded.
- FAMILY CONTRACT: Make a contract for your family with expectations, rewards and consequences. Have everyone participate in drafting it and then all sign it. Put it in a prominent place in your home as a reminder.
- STAY INFORMED & INVOLVED: Stay informed on the latest threats and trends facing kids (e.g. cyberbullying, popular apps and what they do, sexting, etc.). Stay involved with your children’s teachers and other parents. Continue to talk with your children about proper behavior and risks/consequences of misuse. Be sure to reach out to your kids, the school or the authorities if you see or suspect improper, harmful or illegal behavior.
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