Your kids are growing up in the age of technology. They likely spend hours on electronic devices, and use the Internet for various purposes from homework to social networking to learning about hobbies to listening to music or watching videos, and much more.
Technology is no doubt a useful learning tool for children of all ages, but certain aspects, especially the Internet, can be scary and even unsafe. Inappropriate websites, online predators, and cyberbullies can make the web a dangerous world for your little ones and teens.
It’s vital that parents take the time and initiative to protect their children from the evils of the Internet. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has some valuable tips to help parents protect their kids as they surf the web at home, at school, at a friend’s house, or anywhere:
* Monitor your children’s use of the Internet, on the computer AND cell phone.
* Tell kids why it’s so important not to disclose personal information online.
* Check kids’ profiles and what they post online.
* Ask about the people they’re communicating with online.
* Explain that once images are posted online, they are public and can never be deleted.
* Never allow kids to post photos without your knowledge and consent.
* Make it a rule that your kids can NEVER meet anyone in person without your prior knowledge and consent. If a meeting is agreed upon and planned, you should be present.
* 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 about creating strong passwords.
* Stress the differences between acceptable versus potentially risky websites.
* Talk about cyberbullying and how to avoid it.
* Immediately report strange activity.