Protect yourself and your children online
Every time you and your children surf the web, you’re exposed to identity theft, cyber bullying, scams and crimes against children.
Here’s how you can make sure your family uses the internet safely:
Don’t put your birthdate and social security number on the internet where it can be used against you.
- The safest place for a child to use a computer is in a room where there is adult supervision. But don’t stop there. It’s also critical to know what other access your child has at school, friends’ homes and on their cell phones and iPads. Children can even connect on gaming consoles.
- Posting clear, simple, easy-to-read rules is an excellent way to set boundaries for your children’s internet use. Remember nothing beats your supervision of and attention to what your children do while online.
- Don’t allow kids to visit chat rooms since the potential risks are particularly high. Anyone can be in a chat room, posing as children. Predators across the country have been arrested for luring children in child-oriented chat rooms.
- Reward your kids when they share information about what’s happening online. Your acceptance and praise may encourage them to report problems in the future.
- Remind your children not to give out personal information or meet anyone in person without your prior knowledge and consent. If you want to consider a meeting, ask to talk to the other child’s parents/guardians. If you agree to the meeting, accompany your child and meet with the other child and his or her parents/guardians in a public place. If you suspect this person is an adult trying to meet a child, call the Sheriff’s Office or by calling 800-843-5678.
- Don’t post detailed plans about vacations on social-networking sites.
- A screen name should not contain a child’s name, age, location, year of birth, school name or year of graduation. Choose generic screen names.
- Talk to your teens and young adults about images they should and shouldn’t post of themselves. Pictures online will circulate forever damaging a child’s reputation and could end up in the hands of those who victimize children.
Learn the basics of Internet safety
The Internet has opened up amazing opportunities for our children, drastically changing the way they interact with the world. Now with the click of a mouse, they have access to vast amounts of information, amazing tools and the ability to interact with people from around the world. Of course, with these benefits there are many risks, including exposure to inappropriate material, online predators, and cyberbullying.
Today children use many different types of online services, each of which have their own safety concerns. By taking simple precautions, it is possible to avoid many of the dangers lurking online.
We encourage parents to be actively involved, by setting reasonable expectations and then monitoring their student’s lives, including their time online.
Know Where They Go
We know that our students are transient online, always on the search for the newest, coolest tools. For that reason, it’s more important now than ever before for parents to keep tabs on what sites and tools are most popular.
Web Safety Tips for Parents
The following are measures parents can take to help increase their children's security online:
- Keep the computer in a high-traffic area of your home.
- Be reasonable and try to set reasonable expectations. Establish limits for which online sites children may visit and for how long.
- Remember that Internet technology can be mobile, so make sure to monitor cell phones, gaming devices, and laptops. Using software and options from cellular carriers may be helpful.
- Surf the Internet with your children and let them show you what they like to do online.
- Know who is connecting with your children online and set rules for social networking, instant messaging, e-mailing, online gaming, and using webcams.
- Continually dialogue with your children about online safety.
- Ask your kids to share their profiles and blogs with you.
Sources: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and Connect Safely
Protecting Our Children: Online & Elsewhere
Bullying is nothing new. We encourage our community to be ever vigilant regarding bullying and suicidal behavior, regardless of the platform, whether it’s in the schoolyard, on the bus, on the computer or mobile device.
Technology, however, has revolutionized the bullying problem. Instead of happening face-to-face in the classroom, on the playground or bus--cyberbullying is more stealthy. An attack can be launched, often anonymously, from anywhere, using a computer or cell phone, at any time of the day or night. This can makes the bullying more elusive and harder for adults to detect and stop. Additionally, the anonymity of the internet often makes cyber bullies bolder, which can mean more humiliating attacks.
For this reason it is crucial for parents, educators and youth advocates to start the conversation early about bullying, social networking and social media tools. Expectations must be clear that this type of behavior will not be tolerated.
Teaching students how to remain safe and treating others respectfully, no matter what the tool or site is, is our goal. When students are empowered to make good decisions when using social networking sites and tools, they remain safe.
If you are concerned about your child’s behavior or a specific incident:
- Stay with your child, until you are sure they are safe
- If there is an immediate threat to your child or other students, call 911.
- Report the situation to your school: teacher, counselor, principal or local law enforcement.
If there is an immediate threat to your child or other students, call local law enforcement at 911.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides a 24 hour crisis line for those who are thinking of suicide. They also help those who are feeling hopeless or helpless or know someone that is.
Metro Crisis Line
Metro Crisis Services offers a hotline for those struggling with a mental or emotional problem, getting into trouble with drugs or alcohol, having family or relationship problems, or problems at work or school. Support and guidance is free and confidential.
SAFE2TELL is designed to help YOU anonymously report any threatening behavior that endangers you, your friends, your family, or your community.