9 Back to School – Back to Online Safety Tips
As the summer days are dwindling and parents and kids are preparing for back to school, it’s also time to think about internet safety. Nowadays, students spend plenty of time on computers and tablets at school, and most have access to unrestricted internet for research. It’s important for kids to be computer savvy, but it also means they have access to the outside world. Now is the time for parents to set guidelines for their kids and become educated on how to keep children safe online.
Here is a list we put together to help parents get ready for back to school and internet safety.
Nine Back to School Online Safety Tips
1. Only use tablets or devices in common areas at home. We advise parents to keep all devices connected to the internet out of bedrooms. A family room, kitchen, or other common areas are a great place to set up a computer station for family use.
2. Use the privacy settings to keep your child’s account private. Each social media channel has different settings, so adjust each to make sure your kids are not sharing personal images and information with strangers. Go back and check the settings once a month to be sure nothing has changed. Set a calendar reminder, it’s that important!
3. Pause before you post. Remember, yours and your child’s digital footprint lives forever. And don’t just limit that to photos of yourself. Don’t post pictures of your children that they might find embarrassing. Ask yourself the following questions before you share anything online:
Why am I sharing this?
Would I want someone else to share an image like this of me?
Is this something I want to be part of my digital life?
Tell your kids if they wouldn’t want it in the newspaper or online then don’t post it or send it either! This goes both ways.
4. Remind teens to only friend people you know IRL (in real life), even if you have multiple mutual friends. The same goes for private or direct messages (DM). They should not respond to anyone that they don’t know.
5. Don’t share sensitive information about yourself or your family online. – No last name, no school name or even the city or town that you live in. GPS and location services can pinpoint exactly where you are, alerting predators. Posting that you are home alone or even out of town with family shows predators that you or your possessions are in a vulnerable position.
6. Tell children not to give their password to anyone but their parents or primary caregiver. And as their guardians, you do have the right to check their social media, texts and other apps when you want.
7. Kids should choose usernames and passwords that don’t give out personal information. This is something that even adults don’t do, but since usernames tend to stick around for life, it makes sense to put it into practice at a young age. A child should never use their first and last name in their handles, this makes it easier for predators to locate them.
8. Children should never agree to see someone in person that they “met” online.
9. If your child sees any type of mean texts or cyberbullying, tell them to not respond or participate. Tell an adult immediately.
For more information on Child Rescue Coalition and how to keep kids safe online, visit www.childrescuecoalition.org. And read more posts like this on our education page!
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