Internet Safety for Your Family
The advent of the Internet has been a double-edged sword. In some respects, the ease of finding information or being able to purchase items with the click of a mouse has been amazing. We can also listen to any kind of music at any time, enjoy a podcast, participate in e-commerce, and find inspiration for our everyday lives on Pinterest. We can also use online tutorial resources like YouTube, which has saved me on many occasions. Even more wonderful? Social media platforms have allowed us to reconnect with old friends, meet new friends, and stay in touch with family members. But there is a darker side to the Internet—and we have all experienced some form of it since its inception.
Here are a few things to review with your kids
- Never give your name, address, password, or any information about your family, friends, or school to an online stranger.
- Ignore friend requests or chats with people you don’t know or recognize.
- Never meet anyone off line and in-person. If someone requests to do this, tell your parents, a teacher, or a trusted adult immediately.
- Do not create a profile that asks for your name or address.
- Never enter a chat room without an adult’s permission.
- Report a threatening, bullying, or aggressive message or post directed at you, your family, or friends.
- Be aware that people can pretend to be your age and have your same interests.
- Report any inappropriate requests or conversations to a trusted adult.
- Log off if you see something or read that makes you feel uncomfortable.
- Never share or post a photo of yourself without your parents’ permission.
- Don’t download or install anything on your computer with your parent’s approval.
- Ignore instant messages or links sent by someone you don’t know.
- Don’t respond to bullying or harassment.
Here are things to remember as parents:
- Spend time online together to model appropriate behavior and best practices.
- Keep your family computer in a common area where you can monitor its use.
- Do not allow your child’s computer to be located in his/her bedroom where it can be accessed 24/7 and use inappropriately.
- Review and approve all APP purchases.
- Bookmark your child’s approved sites for easy access.
- Review the online protection offered by your child’s school or before and after care facility, as well as rules of online engagement at the homes of your child’s friends.
- If your child comes to you to report an inappropriate request, message, photo shared—take it seriously.
- Your child spends long hours online—especially at night.
- Your child begins receiving phone calls from people you don’t know.
- Unexplained gifts addressed to your child begin to arrive in the mail.
- Your child behaves in a secretive manner and quickly logs out if you enter a room or get near the screen.
- Withdrawal by your child from family life and a loss of interest in school and extracurricular activities.
- Changes in your child’s appearance or clothing choices.
- Changes in your child’s friendships and circle of influence.
We hope these tips will help you navigate the ever-increasing challenges posed by the internet, apps, and other digital networking tools. All of these guidelines were shared to allow you to enjoy all the Internet has to offer and keep you and your family safe.