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Top Five Online Safety Tips for Parents

Top Five Online Safety Tips for Parents

from STOPit Cyber-Safety Expert SGT. Tom Rich

#1 - Control your child's digital footprint

As a parent, you are in the best position to instill the habits that will protect your kids online and on social media for life. It's important that you create these teachable moments with your kids:

  • Everything posted in cyberspace is there FOREVER. There is no a delete button.
  • Nothing in cyberspace is ever truly anonymous. Anything could be traced back to you.

#2 - Don't let strangers find your child on a map

Apps with photo mapping, geotagging, and location services allow all users to see exactly where, on a map, you child is when he or she posts something. Including your home.

  • These features can always be disabled — make sure that your child turns them OFF!
  • Apps to look out for include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and more.

#3 - Watch out for hidden risks in online gaming
  • Your child could be exposed to or have communication with strangers when using online games.
  • Research all of the games your kid plays to figure out if there is a mechanism for strangers to communicate with each other. Games to look out for include Minecraft and others.
  • If these capabilities exist, follow instructions to turn them capabilities OFF. When in doubt, Google "how to" for step-by-step instructions.

#4 - Establish "Trusted Adults" in your child's life

The reality is, your child will likely see things online that are malicious and disturbing — and potentially harmful to them and their peers. It is important to identify adults that you and your child trust.

  • A trusted adult is someone to whom your child can turn when they see something troubling.
  • A trusted adult is someone who will be available to help your child and do the right thing.
  • Seeing mean stuff online can be overwhelming and scary. Help your child form a plan. Reporting apps such as STOPit are an excellent way to both prepare your child and provide a safeguard.

#5 - Ditch the fake "friends"

Back to basics: make sure your child's social media friends are also friends in real life.

  • Conduct a regular "spring cleaning" to lose all the "friends" your child no longer recognizes. Friends do NOT include every single person your child has ever met!
  • Remember that there ARE creepers out there who may pose as a kid living nearby, pretend to know all the same people, and request to add your child as a friend. Talk to your child about these risks, and give them the confidence to say NO to that friend request!
  • This will help cut down the online drama that may grow in the "friend of a friend" space.

"As a parent, you have the power to create TEACHABLE MOMENTS with your kids! With every post and picture, your children are writing their own electronic book. What story do they want to tell?"

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