Why Parents Need to C.R.A.M. & Learn Internet Safety
As kids and teachers are preparing to head back to school, there is something else parents need to add to their to-do list, C.R.A.M.
Not only do you need to pick up school supplies and meet the teacher, but parents have a homework assignment: C.R.A.M. and learn more about internet safety! We came up with this acronym to give parents a “cheat sheet” to keep kids safe online.
What does it stand for?
C – CONTRACT
One way to ensure our children understand the rules of online responsibility is to have them sign a contract before powering up their new device. As we’ve done research into creating a Child Rescue Coalition contract, we’ve found there are many online that focus on phones and social media use, but we wanted ours to have a more holistic digital feel. It’s not just for kids to sign either.
Child Rescue Coalition founder and CEO Carly Yoost says, “It is just as important for parents to learn internet safety as it is for their children. Parents could unknowingly be putting their children at risk by sharing online about their children. Our CRC contract is a new way of thinking about family internet safety. Showing your child that you will follow safety rules as well sets a great example for your children to do all that you can to remain safe online.”
We’ve created a two-way contract to be read, discussed, and signed by both parents and children before they venture online. Parents need to stay on top of new research and have open communication with their kids. Just as you need a license to drive a car, you also need to sign a contract before using the internet. Both are a privilege not a right, and rules should apply to both parents and kids. Download here.
R – ROUTER
Did you know you could use your router to limit screen time or even pause Wi-Fi? If you have the time and patience to dig through the settings of your wi-fi router, you can filter who has access to what online content when. You can also shut off the internet when it’s time for homework or bedtime.
If you’re ready to get serious about online safety, invest in a really good router. Some of our favorites are Bark Home, EERO, and Gryphon. These routers are easily accessible and allow parents to shut down wi-fi from remote locations.
A – APPS
The risks that children face today look different than they did in the past. With easy access to the internet, there are endless opportunities for learning and connection, but those opportunities also come with risks. Children can quickly and easily connect with adults who don’t have their best interests at heart, or could take in damaging or confusing content.
According to a study shared by NetNanny, 82% of children are exposed to inappropriate material online by age 11, which is a startling statistic. How can you best monitor your kid’s every move on the apps on their phones or tablets? Not easily without a little help! Thankfully there’s an app that can do that. Or three!
We recommend using:
- Screentime through Apple
- Google Family Link – great for Android users
- Bark – Monitors your child’s email, social media and text messages for potential risks. You’ll even get parental alerts with child psychologist recommendations to address the issues reported. Bark shares its track record as including “5.2 million children protected, 16 school shootings prevented and 34 thousand severe self-harm situations detected.”
We can’t be everywhere all the time, but we can use technology to manage technology!
M – MONITOR
No, you don’t need to go buy a new monitor for your home computer, but you DO need to monitor who your kids are talking to online.
How do you do this? Check your child’s phone, emails, DM’s, texts and social media accounts. Yes, it’s smart to check your child’s device. It’s not snooping. It’s important to understand what type of media they are consuming, what videos they are watching, and if someone may have said something or sent something inappropriate.
Glen Pounder, VP of Impact at Child Rescue Coalition says, “Think about it this way – would you be happy for your child to meet a 43-year-old strange man in a park while you stood only 10 or 15 yards away? Why should it be any different when your child is in their bedroom meeting a potential child predator online?”
It is 100% YOUR right to check your child’s devices. Please do it, and be proactive, positive and a part of the solution.
With C.R.A.M., you’ll learn practical tips to keep your kids safe online, how to talk to kids about predators by age group, how to recognize the signs of grooming, what to do if a predator contacts your child, and you’ll get device settings and safety tips for popular online games. Download your free copy today!