The internet can be a wonderful tool for children and teens. Many children are using the internet as a place of learning and socializing, especially during this time when social distancing is encouraged. While there are many benefits to using the internet, there are some risks that come along with it. Parents should always be aware of what their child/teen is doing while using the internet. Right now, while children are often stuck at home, is an essential time for parents to have a conversation with their children about online safety.
There are many tools out there to help parents navigate this tough issue. Most internet providers have parental controls that can be put into place to block access to certain sites and prevent certain information from being shared.
These are some tips to share with our child and teen in regards to internet safety:
-Never give away personal information such as, address, phone number, or where you attend school.
-Do not share passwords with anyone. (not including parents)
-Never agree to meet up with someone in person without discussing with your parents beforehand.
-If you receive a message online that is threatening or inappropriate, do not respond. Let your parent know right away.
Some guidelines for parents to follow to promote internet safety:
-Keep the computer in a common area of the house. Do not allow children to have tablets, computers, or phones in their bedroom.
-Closely monitor any time spent on the internet, including on smartphones and tablets.
-Be aware of your bank statements and any charges being made that look suspicious.
If your child informs you that something happened online that made them feel uncomfortable or not safe, let them know that you appreciate them being open and honest with you. Always report threatening or illegal activity to local law enforcement for investigation.