Now that school is out, kids spend more time in front of their phones and computer screens. Our youth have grown up with the internet and various kinds of technology, but it’s still crucial to remind them about online risks and how to avoid or report unsafe behavior.
Talk to kids about online safety issues, such as inappropriate websites to avoid, malware, fraud, phishing scams, and sexual predators. Keep an open dialogue with your kids about their safety and what they are doing on the computer and smartphone.
Set clear rules about internet and phone usage. Some examples are:
- Do not give out personal information. Avoid using birthdates, legal name or other identifiers in handles
- Do not post your photo on public sites.
- Do not open emails, texts, or DMs from someone you don’t know. If they claim to know you but the message seems strange, show it to a trusted adult.
- Always report inappropriate messages to a trusted adult
- Ignore or delete hurtful, insulting, or bullying messages and comments
- Never agree to meet up with someone you’ve only chatted with online
- Set time limits for being on the computer
Other guidelines for improved internet safety include:
- Keep kids’ computers in a common area to monitor activity
- Check your child’s browser history
- Activate privacy features within the internet browser and all devices
- Know your children’s passwords and change them regularly. Again, avoid using birthdates or easily guessed information.
- Watch for changes in behavior that may indicate cyberbullying or contact with an online sexual predator.
- Monitor chats within live streams on Twitch, YouTube, and gaming platforms
Technology has enhanced the way we learn and communicate, but we also have to adapt the way we keep our kids safe while online. We’ve included some online safety tips below: