I read an article today about a teacher accused of stalking a 12 year old via Snapchat. At first, I was shocked at the headline and the details that followed, but then again, am I really surprised? Kids are more vulnerable than ever to predators through the apps on their phone and computers.
With the touch of a screen, so many potential dangers exist. Now is the best time to lay out and set guidelines with your children about phone and computer usage. As a parent, it is your job to keep your children safe and online safety is no different from physical safety.
Dangers can be avoided. Here’s what you need to know about keeping your child safe online!
- Tell your kids that they should never interact with strangers on apps, online gaming, and social media. We seem to stress “Stranger Danger” in a physical sense and not as much online. “Catfishing” and luring happens all of the time. Your kids should know that not everyone is who they saw they are online.
- Don’t let your kids reveal too much about themselves. They should not be telling the world where they are every minute of the day. There are too many dangers that lie ahead if your child reveals all online.
- Photos should only be sent to people they know. Photos contain location information and a person with bad intentions could easily locate the exact geographic location of your child. Use your parental controls to monitor any pictures posted. Make sure you have access to see the content of these photos, too.
- The pictures and words you post on social media stay there – forever. If you don’t want someone to read or see it, don’t post it. Drill this into your kids head.
- Don’t forget to talk to your kids about “cyberbullying”. Make sure they know what to do if they feel targeted, but more importantly make sure they are not posting hurtful comments in anyway to other kids online.
Teens with public profiles are more likely to receive messages from strangers and be harassed by their peers! – Cox Communications, Teen Internet Safety Survey
It’s important to know the age restrictions social media and apps have. For example, Facebook has an age restriction of 13 years old. Do not bypass this restriction. Stick to the guidelines that have already been laid out. Educate yourself and talk to your kids about the dangers of social media.
If you’d like to read the story I mentioned above, here is the link: http://www.kare11.com/news/local/former-teacher-accused-of-stalking-12-year-old/48562447
Internet Safety 101 is a great resource to help guide your discussion with your kids. They are working hard to make the internet safe for children and families.
Kids are going to post photos and reveal information about themselves. It is a huge part of today’s culture. Make sure your kids know the potential risks. Provide them with the knowledge to report uncomfortable situations and the tools to protect their privacy.