Safe Summer #3 – Internet Safety

With the start of a new and potentially precarious school year approaching, internet access is going to be a necessity for most of our kids to access and complete their lessons. For many of us, it will be impossible to monitor 100% of our children’s activity on the internet, which presents a lot of new risks to them. We have tips that will help you make sure they stay safe online as they start to use it more this fall and winter:

  • Tell your children not to give out identifying information – this includes their name, address, school information, or extracurricular activities.
  • One-on-one interaction between children and school staff should be transparent and regulated, and scheduled only with a parent’s knowledge and consent. Students should not participate in virtual meeting in their bedrooms.
  • Set and enforce reasonable time limits on computers and smart phones.
  • Tell your child they can talk to you if they experience something online that makes them feel upset, uncomfortable, or scared, and you will not get mad or punish them.
  • Talk to your children about not sharing location, clearing browser cookies and cache, , and not granting access to camera or microphone unless they are being actively used.
  • Discuss openly with children how and with whom the children are communicating online. Children need to know that kind and supportive actions are expected and that hurtful or inappropriate content is never okay.
  • 39% of online gamers are over 35. Talk to your child about predatory grooming behaviors.
  • Help children differentiate between regular content and advertisements. Engage and relate to them to help counteract negative messages.
  • Talk to your children about the long term implications of everything they post.
  • Bullying is a behavior, not an identity. Tell your child to speak out when they see bullying behavior.
  • Regularly review your child’s online friends and followers. Ask how they know each individual and encourage them to only engage with people they know.
  • Sniff out secret accounts. Take a look at your child’s push notifications. If you notice a notification for an account or username you don’t recognize, ask them about it.
  • Encourage your children to use their voices online to support others in need of help. They can be the critical voice that helps put an end to a vulnerable child’s suffering.

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