New tech devices topped many kids’ Santa lists this past holiday season. Whether or not Santa delivered new devices to your home, it’s still a great time to review Internet safety and get your kids off to a new year of “Social Media For Good!”
HERE’S SOME ADVICE FOR PARENTS FROM THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION ON HOW TO KEEP YOUR KIDS SAFE ONLINE.
- Monitor your children’s use of the Internet; keep your Internet computer in an open, common room of the house.
- Tell your kids why it’s so important not to disclose personal information online.
- Check your kids’ profiles and what they post online.
- Read and follow the safety tips provided on the sites.
- Report inappropriate activity to the website or law enforcement immediately.
- Explain to your kids that once images are posted online they lose control of them and can never get them back.
- Only allow your kids to post photos or any type of personally identifying information on websites with your knowledge and consent.
- Instruct your kids to use privacy settings to restrict access to profiles so only the individuals on their contact lists are able to view their profiles.
- Remind kids to only add people they know in real life to their contact lists.
- Encourage kids to choose appropriate screen names or nicknames.
- Talk to your kids about creating strong passwords.
- Visit social networking websites with your kids, and exchange ideas about acceptable versus potentially risky websites.
- Ask your kids about the people they are communicating with online.
- Make it a rule with your kids that they can never give out personal information or meet anyone in person without your prior knowledge and consent.
- If you agree to a meeting between your child and someone they met online, talk to the parents/guardians of the other individual first and accompany your kids to the meeting in a public place.
- Encourage your kids to consider whether a message is harmful, dangerous, hurtful, or rude before posting or sending it online.
- Teach your kids not to respond to any rude or harassing remarks or messages that make them feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused and to show you the messages instead.
- Educate yourself on the websites, software, and apps that your child uses.
MAKE INTERNET SAFETY A FAMILY AFFAIR!
The FBI advises two of the most important things parents can do to keep kids safe online is to “be aware and involved.” One way to get the conversation started is to spend quality time with your kids online. Visiting websites like FBI Kids, Netsmartz.org, and Common Sense Media is a great place to start. These sites offer in depth information for parents in addition to fun, educational games and videos for kids and teens. Try exploring Internet safety together as a new family connection!