Most kids cannot distinguish between online and off. It is important that we talk with our children and help them understand how to make responsible and safe choices about what they post and/or share. Unfortunately, rumors, threats and photos can circulate on the Internet very quickly. It is also equally important to make sure our kids know where to go for support if someone ever harasses them.
Get Tech Savvy
Even if you are not a Facebook fan, become familiar with the tools and social media platforms your kids are using. Follow their activity and know who their connections are. Unfortunately, there are child predators lurking online.
When it comes to kids and technology, children require clear boundaries and an understanding of the appropriate use of technology. Parents need to be not only vigilant about their kids' online behaviors, but also consistent when it comes to enforcing the rules.
Use tools to filter movies and programming based on ratings, violence and sexual content.
Use tools that restrict access to sites with inappropriate content and monitor whether settings have been changed.
Take the phone away at bedtime or install “sleep” functions on the phone so that calls received after a certain hour go directly to voicemail.
Don't over share
The temptation to post pictures from vacations and pool parties will be high and it is a prime time for older teens to review their digital footprint as they begin to think about college applications.
Cyberbullying. Sexting. Social Networking. NetSmartz provides important Internet safety topics through tip sheets. Use them to educate yourself and others in your community about the main online risks and to engage children in discussions about appropriate online behavior.