June 27, 2014

Summer Cyber-Safety Made Simple
 

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So it's official; SCHOOL IS OUT FOR SUMMER!

 

With school out kids have more time to use desktops, laptops, smart phones, gaming devices and tablets. Consequently, as a parent, grandparent or caregiver, it's up to you to make sure your kids' summertime cyber experiences are positive and safe. 

 

To help you, we've created a simple acronym as a guidepost with steps you can take and tactics you can implement to protect your children from online dangers.

 

We picked SUMMER. Go figure!

 

S

et clear expectations and establish an ongoing dialogue- Before Internet enabled devices get turned on, you can make a positive impact on your child's Internet experience. When parents talk regularly with their kids about the Internet, kids demonstrate fewer risky behaviors while online. Plan a time when you can have a conversation with your kids to discuss expectations for use of the Internet this summer. Spend time with your child online, create an atmosphere of trust. Encourage your children to make good decisions and temper your reactions if they run into danger.

 

To ensure you and your child understand these expectations, together review and sign the Rules N' Tools® youth pledge.  

 

U

nderstand the need for cyber-safety and implement Rules N' Tools®  on all Internet enabled devicesincluding desktops, laptops, smart phones, gaming devices and tablets.

Ideally, if time permits, go through the four part Emmy award winning Internet Safety 101SM® DVD teaching series and the Rules N' Tools® Booklet. Next, I recommend printing out the Rules N' Tools® checklist  and posting it in a place where you will see it frequently, like on the refrigerator. Take five minutes each week to review the checklist. 

As you view the Internet Safety 101SM® DVD program, you will be educated, equipped and empowered with the knowledge and resources needed to protect your children from the online dangers of pornography, sexual predators, cyber-bullies and risks related to social networking, online gaming and mobile devices.

 

You can even set up time limits on the devices that will restrict endless, all-day access. It is essential you understand how to use these features and why these features are important.

 

When we more fully understand a danger, we are more likely to implement and follow through with practices that will keep us and our children protected. 

 

 

M

ake sure you are 'friends' with your child on social networking sites or gaming sites - Be sure you, as the parent or grandparent, are added to your child's 'friends' and 'followers' lists, otherwise if their profiles are set to private - as they should be - you will not be able to view any of your child's activity. If you are unsure whether your child has an online profile, conduct a simple online search.

 

With the excitement of summer in the air, your kids will likely engage in many fun-filled summertime activities. It's likely that kids will bring their mobile device to these events and then post pictures and videos from the events on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If you're not friends with your children on social networking sites, you may not be able to see what they are posting and what other kids or adults post on your child's social media profile or on YouTube.  Kids' online and offline lives have merged, and it's important you not only know your child's friends in real life but are also aware of their digital relationships.

 

 

M

atch online time with quality time - Kids love spending time on the computer and other digital devices. But they also love spending time with you. Make sure you set technology time outs each day to spend with your kids doing something they enjoy.  It doesn't need to be an all day affair, but regular quality time will deepen your relationship with your child.

 

In a recent survey, teens who rated their relationship with their parent as positive were 20 percent less likely to seek online pornography than teens who rated their relationship with their parent as poor. Additionally, make sure your kids are spending quality face time with their friends and family members and engage in outdoor play.

 

 

E

volve with the Internet and Mobile Technologies -Digital technology is constantly changing and developing. In order to fully protect your kids from digital dangers, stay up to date on the latest technology and platforms your child is using. 

 
Growing Wireless has collaborated with Wireless Corporations to develop these 'Parental Control Tools' to help parents effectively monitor their children's cell phone use.
 
These steps include:
  • Learning what types of control filters are available to manage their child's wireless devices
  • Using and identifying effective service plans and control tools
  • Maintaining their assessment of plans and tools to match their children's age and family rules.
Another helpful resource is Connect Safely's "A Parent's Guide to Mobile Devices".

 

R

eview, research and monitor the sites your children view- Consider using monitoring software, especially if you sense your child is at risk. Monitoring software can provide a full and complete record of where your child goes online, monitor outgoing and incoming communications, and identify a child's online friends.  More robust monitoring tools lets parents see each website their children visit, view every e-mail or instant message they send and receive, and can even record every word they type.  Many monitoring tools can send parents a periodic report summarizing their child's Internet usage and communications. EIE recommends that parents tell their children that monitoring software is being used.

 

We are here to help you better protect the children in your life. I encourage you to get familiar with all of the safety information on our website www.internetsafety101.org. Review the video clips and consider using them as conversation starters with your tweens and teens. Please let us know how we can help. Have a great and cyber safe summer!

 

For the Sake of the Children,

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Headshot Donna Rice Hughes Donna Rice Hughes 

President & CEO, Enough Is Enough®®    

Executive Producer & Host, Internet Safety 101SM® PBS TV Series

 
 
 
 
 
 
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ABOUT EIE

Enough Is Enough®® (EIE) is a 501(c) 3 national, non-partisan non-profit whose mission is to make the Internet safer for children and families.

(See  20 Year Timeline)

 

The Internet Safety 101SM® multimedia program was created to prevent Internet-initiated crimes against children through educating, equipping and empowering parents, educators and caring adults with the knowledge and resources needed to protect children from online p*rnography, sexual predators and cyberbullies , as well as cyber security risks and dangers related to social networking, online gaming and mobile devices. 

Click HERE to learn more!
 
 
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atch the Internet Safety 101SM TV Series on PBS?
 
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