There are many applications that our children use to talk to their friends, gather information and express themselves. As parents, we want the Internet to be a safe and enjoyable experience for our children and teens. But we may not know all the resources available to us to make that happen. Below are some basic privacy tips and useful resources.
Teens are the most vulnerable due to the amount of time they spend online. According to a study by Pew Research, “92% of teens report going online daily including 24% who say they go online ‘almost constantly’. More than half (56%) of teens, defined in this report as those ages 13-17, go online several times a day, and 12% report once-a-day use. Just 6% of teens report going online weekly, and 2% go online less often.”
Here are a few tips to keep your kids and their information safe while online.
- For older children and teens, take the time to talk to them. Let them be the teacher in showing you how their favorite sites work. Go through the privacy settings on each site together.
- “Friend” your child on sites such as Facebook. However, don’t harass them or embarrass them as that may force them to” unfriend” you or put limits on what you can see of their online activity. The idea is to share and educate your child as to what can and cannot harm them in the future.
- Employ the “golden rule”. No punishment will be given if your child is honest with you. Keep the lines of communication open. If they do something wrong online, help them understand why it’s unsafe and you can both learn from this experience.
- Encourage your kids to create strong usernames and passwords and to avoid clicking on links sent through social media.
- Educate your kids about the dangers of inputting sensitive data about themselves on any site.
- Explain the disadvantages of posting too much information as this attracts phishing campaigns.
- If your child is a victim of cyberbullying, make sure they save those messages to share with you, their school, and authorities.
- Familiarize yourself with ‘block user’ and ‘report user’ options on Facebook and Twitter, and use them when necessary.
- Make sure the devices your kids are using are updated with the latest security software, including their mobile device.
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