The internet holds a wealth of opportunity and knowledge and it has become an indispensable tool for students today. It is also a very dangerous place, filled with serious risks and used as a tool by online predators, cyber bullies, and internet scammers. How can parents reduce the risks while maximizing the benefits? Here are 25 ways.
- Keep the computer in the open so someone is always around when in use.
- Use computer programs to filter unwanted content.
- Use a parental alert system to stay informed of internet use.
- Take all online threats of bullying, violence, or self-harm seriously and report it to the authorities.
- Have regular talks about internet use.
- Never give out personal information like a birth date, name, or location.
- Do not use personal identifiers as screen names.
- Use gender-neutral screen names.
- Choose complex passwords and never share them.
- Never share photos of yourself, family, or friends.
- Never agree to meet someone you met online in person, even in a public place.
- If someone suggests meeting in person, children should tell their parents immediately.
- If something does not feel right, trust your instincts.
- Children should tell parents about inappropriate or threatening messages.
- Never participate in arguments online.
- Never post or send any message that could be thought to be unkind, hurtful, scary, or threatening.
- Never shop online without parental permission.
- Never download anything without knowing that it is from a reputable source.
- Be suspicious of any “free” game or program.
- Never reply to texts, emails, or pop-up asking for personal or financial information.
- Never click on links from unknown sources.
- Be cautious of opening attachments.
- Be careful of P2P file sharing.
- Before sharing files, be sure to have a safety program in place and controls set so no personal information gets shared.
- Keep track of browser history.
Keeping your family safe online requires diligence. While the internet can be helpful, recent studies show that high levels of use and engagement can lead to an increased risk of cyber bullying, stalking, and “Facebook depression” where a child’s happiness and worth gets wrapped up in likes or “unlikes”. Talk to your kids about their use of the internet and social media and become educated about both the benefits and risks of children using the internet.
JM Resources was founded in 1981 with a goal to enhance the safety, comfort, and convenience of our clients in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware with home security and home automation solutions.