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Print Posted on 06/29/2017 in Category 1

Internet Safety Tips For The Summer and Beyond

The kids are home for the summer and, of course, they’re bored! They have a lot of time on their hands now and will probably turn to the internet to entertain themselves, to play games, chat with friends, and check out the latest social media posts. Their electronic devices seem like a good option to keep them occupied, but should you be worried about internet safety?

As a family, you are probably planning some car trips to see relatives or to spend time vacationing this summer. Guess what? The kids will probably also be bored on those long trips! An easy solution is to give them an iPad for playing games or watching movies along the way. Although this seems harmless, should you be worried about internet safety?

The unfortunate fact is that there are many predators online, just waiting for kids to click the wrong link. Protecting children on the internet is just as difficult - if not more so - than protecting them on the streets. The good news is that you can make a huge difference, as a parent, in helping your kids stay safe in the virtual world, just as you do in the real world.

Have a conversation with your kids about internet safety. Remind them that not everyone they meet online has the best of intentions. The Wired Homeschool has published a very helpful list of 10 internet safety tips you should discuss with your kids, before they go online:

  • Think before you post.
  • Respect other people online, avoid gossip.
  • Ask for permission before you meet online friends in-person.
  • Don’t feed cyberbullies—block the sender, ignore mean messages, file a report with the website or police.
  • Speak up if you see someone getting bullied.
  • Clean up your profile, eliminate your page of everything too personal, embarrassing, and illegal.
  • Use the privacy settings.
  • Monitor what others post about you.
  • Keep adults in the loop—tell them when you add new sites, new friends or see something suspicious or harmful.
  • Use your voice for good—use social media to do something productive for you or a cause.

In addition, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children provides great tip sheets that you can use to help keep your children safe on the internet. The Center recommends that, as a parent, you should:

  • Take charge
  • Monitor
  • Communicate

Your kids will be online more and more as they get older. Have those conversations now, so they will understand what is safe and where the predators may be waiting for them. Repeat the conversations as needed, to give you that added sense of security about your kids’ internet safety!

What do you do to protect your children on the internet?  Share your tips with other parents on our Community Forum.

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