During the summer months, kids often have extra time to spend online with their computers and mobile devices.
This increased screen time provides many benefits for kids, but there are also increased risks that include cyber bullying, child predators, inappropriate violent or sexual material and other threats.
Parents and guardians can help protect children by creating an open environment where children feel comfortable talking to their parents about what they see and do online.
Here are some simple things you can do to make sure your children stay safe online this summer:
•Talk to your kids. Try to talk regularly with your kids about practicing online safety. Don’t wait for your kids to start the conversation, use everyday opportunities to talk to your kids about being online.
•Communicate your expectations. Set clear online behavior expectations for your children and explain how they apply in an online context. For example, be specific about what is off limits and what you consider inappropriate behavior.
•Watch for changes in behavior. If your child suddenly avoids the computer or changes from their normal behavior, it may be a sign that they are being bullied online.
•Consider parental controls. Regularly review the privacy and security policies on the websites your children frequent. Consider parental controls such as time limits and controls that limit what content is accessible.
•Talk about the concept of credibility. Emphasize the concept of credibility to teens. Be sure teens understand that not everything they see on the Internet is true and people on the Internet may not be who they appear to be.
Sharane Gott is the president/CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana.
Source: The Advertiser