Summer break is here, which means kids are starting to spend more free time online and on mobile devices. Children run into all sorts of risks in the cyber world, including cyberbullying, inappropriate content, online predators, and cyber criminals seeking to steal their personal information. It’s important for parents to know how to keep their children safe from these threats online. According to Homeland Security, here are five online safety tips to share with your children and remember to follow these tips too!
- Don’t share too much information. Create a list of things your kids should never post or share online – like their birthday and year, full name, address, and phone number – and make sure they understand why it is important to keep this information private.
- Be careful about what you post. The Internet isn’t private. Once your kids share a post, picture, or video, they can’t control how others will use it, and it can never be permanently deleted. Teach them be thoughtful and cautious in what they post and share online.
- Only connect with people you know. “Don’t talk to strangers” is a good rule for the real world and the cyber world. Predators and stalkers can easily create fake profiles to hide their identities, so instruct your kids to only connect with friends they actually know in real life. Also check your children’s privacy settings to make sure strangers can’t see their profiles. Sometimes privacy settings get reset to default settings during program updates, so check their profiles regularly.
- Keep your location private. Many apps, networks, and devices have geo-tagging features which broadcast your location. This information could lead a stalker directly to your kids, so check that these features are completely off.
- Protect your password. Create strong passwords and make sure kids know to never share them with anyone (except their parents or a trusted adult).
National Child Sexual Abuse Images Resources
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
333 John Carlyle Street Suite #125
Alexandria, Virginia 22314-5950
National Children’s Advocacy Center
210 Pratt Ave NE
Huntsville, AL 35801
National Center for Sexual Exploitation
1201 F St NW, Suite 200
Washington, DC 20004
Canadian Centre for Child Protection
Carly Ryan Foundation
Need Help Now
Marie Collins Foundation
Child Rescue Coalition
National Children’s Alliance
516 C St NE #100,
Washington, DC 20002
Maryland Crime Victims Resource Center
1001 Prince George’s Blvd Suite 750
Upper Marlboro, MD 20774-7427
Carroll County 240-335-4032
Common Sense Media
699 8th St, Suite C150
San Francisco, CA 94103