Every time you and your children surf the web, you’re exposed to identity theft, cyber bullying, scams and crimes against children.
Here’s how you can make sure your family uses the internet safely:
- Don’t put your birthdate and social security number on the internet where it can be used against you.
- The safest place for a child to use a computer is in a room where there is adult supervision. But don’t stop there. It’s also critical to know what other access your child has at school, friends’ homes and on their cell phones and iPads. Children can even connect on gaming consoles.
- Posting clear, simple, easy-to-read rules is an excellent way to set boundaries for your children’s internet use. Remember nothing beats your supervision of and attention to what your children do while online.
- Don’t allow kids to visit chat rooms since the potential risks are particularly high. Anyone can be in a chat room, posing as children. Predators across the country have been arrested for luring children in child-oriented chat rooms.
- Reward your kids when they share information about what’s happening online. Your acceptance and praise may encourage them to report problems in the future.
- Remind your children not to give out personal information or meet anyone in person without your prior knowledge and consent. If you want to consider a meeting, ask to talk to the other child’s parents/guardians. If you agree to the meeting, accompany your child and meet with the other child and his or her parents/guardians in a public place. If you suspect this person is an adult trying to meet a child, call the Sheriff’s Office and/or make a report at cybertipline.com or by calling 800-843-5678.
- Don’t post detailed plans about vacations on social-networking sites.
- A screen name should not contain a child’s name, age, location, year of birth, school name or year of graduation. Choose generic screen names.
- Talk to your teens and young adults about images they should and shouldn’t post of themselves. Pictures online will circulate forever damaging a child’s reputation and could end up in the hands of those who victimize children.