Kids are in constant need of reminders, even in the summer time-put on sunscreen, drink plenty of water, and watch for cars while riding bikes. Parents want to take care of their safety, so one more thing to remember during the long summer days is to remind them about being safe online.
The extra leisure time for kids usually translates to extra Internet time. June is Internet Safety Month and a good time to think about our children’s online safety and security.
Better Business Bureau serving Central Ohio knows how important the topic of online safety is, especially for young users, and has launched a program called Keeping Kids Safe Online. It provides advice for parents who want their children’s digital presence to be a safe one, and tips on how best to help them protect themselves.
Know what your kids are doing
A survey conducted by the National Cyber Security Alliance revealed that 74% of adults admit not knowing about their children’s online behavior, and seven in ten young people are victims of cyber bullying. But 46% of youth say they would change their online behavior if their parents were paying attention, according to the study.
It is vital that parents make it a practice to become familiar with what their children are up to when they are using their digital devices. Familiarize yourself with these:
- Apps – Know which ones your kids are using. Be sure they have come from reputable app stores and examine them to see what their privacy disclosures and settings are. If they share your child’s location with friends and family, be sure that only the right people have access to that location information.
Games- Check out the games your children are playing. Look up their ratings and reviews to verify that they are appropriate for children. Play the games with your children to better understand them. Ratings are available at the website for The Entertainment Software Rating Board. Reviews of games are found at Common Sense Media. When a game played online allows chat with other players, be sure your kids are careful about the information they disclose. Social Media- Know what social media channels your children are using, and what information they are sharing on their profiles. Be sure to set family rules for how these profiles can be used, and ask your children to provide you with their passwords for the sites. Instant Messaging/Chat Features- Talking with your kids about knowing who they’re talking with online is an important conversation to have. Make it clear that if they don’t know them in real life, they don’t need to chat with them online. Photo Sharing- Photo sharing sites like Instagram are great for keeping in touch with family and friends who may not live close by, but make sure your kids know what their privacy settings should be, and what’s appropriate to share.
The internet offers a world of opportunities. For children especially, these ways of socializing and communicating can be fulfilling, and yet, they come with risks. It is important to talk with your children about the pitfalls that can come from being online, such as imposters, their everlasting image, and protecting their identity.
For more information on how to talk with your children about online safety, visit bbbkidsafe.com. There are downloadable e-books for parents and kids, as well as further information on in person presentations.
For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2014, people turned to BBB more than 165 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 4.7 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. BBB Serving Central Ohio was founded in 1921 and serving 21 counties in Ohio, is one of 112 local, independent BBBs across North America.