No Devices in Bedrooms and 8 More Tips for Keeping Kids Safe from Online Predators
- By Good Morning America
- April 3, 2020
With millions of kids out of school due to novel coronavirus, it may seem like screen time in your home has gone up exponentially.
And that’s OK. Experts agree that typical rules can’t always apply in such atypical times.
But with increased online time comes and increased risk of your child crossing paths with an online predator. The Child Rescue Coalition has shared with “Good Morning America” nine ways parents can ramp up safety measures.
CRC is an organization that aims to protect all children from sexual exploitation. One way they do that is through the Child Protection System, which, according to CRC’s website is “technology that provides the most comprehensive view of where child predators around the world are downloading and sharing explicit content online — leading to direct action.”
The No. 1 rule?
“Try not to allow children to have their phones, laptops or tablets in their bedrooms,” the organization suggested. “A connection to the internet not only gives your child access to adult content, but also allows others to contact your children through video game chats, social media apps and chat rooms. Have your kids work or play near you, and if you are working, give your child or yourself headphones.”
Carly Yoost, founder and chief executive officer of CRC, told “GMA”: “With school closures and more kids using online learning platforms more than ever, we have to remember that there are still risks with child predators lurking inside apps and behind the keyboard. We don’t want to discourage parents and schools from using these tools, just to remember to still follow safety guidelines.”
Here are eight ways to keep kids safe:
1. Always check your children’s devices, search history, what they are posting, as well as their emails, texts and social media direct messages daily. If it’s too much work and parents don’t have time, then limit the number of apps available to your children.
2. Talk to your children about internet safety and online predators, and let them know that it’s not just stranger danger.MORE: Coronavirus school closings: 8 ways to keep the peace while kids are home
3. Always have social media accounts turned to private, and turn off location tracking. Also, on an iPhone, make sure you set your camera to never allow your child’s location to be seen. To do this, go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services (ON) > Camera set to NEVER.
4. With many school closures in the country and the world, more kids are online more than ever. Now is a good time to refresh your internet safety practices.
5. Use an app like Bark to monitor your children’s devices. Let these apps do the work for you so you can focus on your family.
5. Don’t feel guilty about screen time, but do make sure you are paying attention.
6. Be on the lookout for signs your child might be a target of a predator. Read those here.
7. Sign a contract with your kids so they understand the rules of the virtual road during this time away from school.
8. Don’t forget to have fun with your kids and learn how to play some of their favorite games with them. When you show an interest, your kids will open up to you and be more willing to share.
“With most of us at home, it’s a great time to engage in our children’s apps and learn what they are doing,” Yoost said.
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