Keeping your kids safe online

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO KEEP YOUR KIDS SAFE ONLINE?

Remind your kids that online actions have consequences.

The words kids write and the images they post have consequences offline.

⊲ Kids should post only what they’re comfortable with others seeing. Parts of your children’s profiles may be seen by a broader audience than you — or they — are comfortable with, even if they use privacy settings. Encourage your kids to think about the language they use online, and to think before posting pictures and videos, or altering photos posted by someone else. Employers, college admissions officers, coaches, teachers, and the police may view these posts.

⊲ Remind kids that once they post it, they can’t take it back. Even if they delete the information from a site, they have little control over older versions that may be saved on other people’s devices and may circulate online. And a message that’s supposed to disappear from a friend’s phone? There are still ways to save it. Tell kids to limit what they share.

⊲ Help your kids understand what information should stay private. Tell them why it’s important to keep some things to themselves. Information like their Social Security number, street address, phone number, and family financial information is private and should stay that way.

⊲ Talk to your teens about avoiding sex talk online. Teens who don’t talk about sex with strangers online are less likely to come in contact with predators. In fact, researchers have found that predators usually don’t pose as children or teens, and most teens who are contacted by adults they don’t know find it creepy. Teens should ignore or block them, and trust their gut when something feels wrong.

⊲ Tell kids it’s more than what they post. Information may be collected and shared even if kids are not posting it. For example, what sites they visit, social media activity, or answers on quizzes may be shared or used for advertising.

Limit access to your kids’ profiles.

⊲ Use privacy settings. Many social networking sites, chat, and video accounts have adjustable privacy settings, so you and your kids can restrict who has access to kids’ profiles. Talk to your kids about the importance of these settings, and your expectations for who should be allowed to view their profile.

⊲ Review your child’s friends list. Suggest that your kids limit online “friends” to people they actually know. Ask about who they’re talking to online.

The information above is an excerpt from NETCETRA Chatting With Your Kids About Being Online. Learn more at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/sites/www.consumer.ftc.gov/files/netcetera_2018.pdf