Keep your family safe online

Image: Arvind Balaraman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I really don’t know where I got this link, how it made it to my bookmarks, but it’s definitely worth sharing. From the Verizon forum, “10 Tips to Make Sure You Have a Cyber Safe Family.”

  1. Know the top Internet safety concerns – Most parents and Internet Safety Advocates would agree that the top Internet safety concerns include inappropriate material, cyberbullying, online predators, sharing private information, sharing pictures/videos and viruses.
  2. Have online rules and use an Internet Safety Contract – Just as you have rules for your kids regarding their behavior, stranger danger and being respectful of others, you should have specific rules for your kid’s online activities. A Family Internet Safety Contract
    helps you communicate what is expected and how to handle certain
    situations.
  3. Install filtering or blocking programs – Although we love having access to everything, we don’t want everything coming back from the cyber world into our home computer. I strongly recommend anyone who has a computer to download a filtering program.
  4. Discuss online safety with your kids on a regular basis – Parents need to understand this is not a “one time only” conversation. This needs to be an ongoing conversation as new sites and trends mean it is constantly changing.
  5. Monitor online activity – Parents should begin monitoring their kids’ online activity as soon as they begin using a computer. Do they spend their time researching information regarding school or social network sites, online gaming, etc.? Most kids think they are safe when they go online, but they don’t realize everything they post online has the potential of becoming public. When they share pictures with their friends online, do they consider what the background might reveal (address, school name, socio-economic status, etc.)? Kids also don’t understand the steps predators use to befriend their victims. Kids should be monitored regularly until you feel comfortable with their online activity.
  6. Ask kids about their favorite websites – Take a little time each week to find out your child’s favorite website. Have them show you their favorite sites, online games and videos so you can evaluate their appropriateness to your child’s safety, educational goals and well-being.
  7. Discuss online related news stories – When stories related to technology or online safety are shown in the news, discuss them with your kids. Ask them what they would do in that situation. Do they know how their school would handle it, etc.?
  8. Know the online capabilities of all digital devices and cell phones. Most handheld devices (Nintendo DSi, iTouch, cell phones, etc.) have Internet access through Wi-Fi. Find out what online capabilities each digital device has and make sure you understand what the parental control options are.
  9. Understand what your online reputation reveals and how it can create opportunities or have negative consequences. I recommend that you “Google” your name and your child’s names. This is a great way to find out what your (or their) online reputation reveals. Do you need to take certain pictures or videos down or think twice about some of your status updates?
  10. Stay up to date and educated on the latest technology trends that can impact your family. CyberSafeFamily.com’s website and email updates are designed to help parents stay up to date on the latest trends that can impact your family’s online safety or reputation.

Good tips to follow.

Author: Paloma Cruz

Find out more about Paloma Cruz through the About page. Connect with her on Twitter (www.twitter.com/palomacruz) and (Facebook).

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