Internet safety skills are as vital as the ABC’s. It’s up to parents and teachers to help kids become responsible and honest citizens of the future. That means they have to be able to apply the lessons they learn in life to their online and mobile lives. Be kind, be honest. Don’t do something that would harm another. Be careful about what you reveal to others. We teach our kids these things every day. Let’s remember to extend our parenting wisdom to their online and mobile worlds. This way we raise safe, responsible kids who can enjoy the amazing powers offered by these amazing technologies.
Internet Safety for Parents
STRATEGIES FOR A RESPONSIBLE AND SAFER ONLINE LIFE
- Visit only age-appropriate sites. Check out the site before your kids visit it. Know what features and what content exist and make sure they’re good for your kids.
- Search safely. Use safe search settings for young kids or think about applying filtering software to limit inappropriate exposure.
- Avoid strangers. Tell you kids that people aren’t always who they say they are in cyberspace. Explain that if someone they don’t know talks to them, they shouldn’t respond but should let you know.
- Be a good cyber citizen! Remind kids that an Internet playground is still a playground and they need to play nicely. A good rule of thumb: If they wouldn’t do something in real life they shouldn’t do it online. Find out how your children can report mean behavior or unkind content on their favorite sites and teach them how to do it.
- Online cheating? It’s still cheating and it’s a no-no –pure and simple.
- Keep the computer in a central place. So you can see what’s going on.
Establish expectations and limits about the amount of time your children spend online and what they do.
- View your own habits carefully. You are their role models.
- But, mostly, be involved and have fun with them! Keeping kids safe and teaching them how to use digital technology responsibly is all about staying involved. Start by showing interest in the sites they visit and the games they play and your job will be a lot easier when they start exploring these technologies more independently.
- Tell your child not to respond to rude e-mails, messages, and comments.
- Save the evidence, such as e-mail and text messages, and take screenshots of comments and images. Also, take note of the date and time when the harassment occurs.
- Contact your Internet service provider (ISP) or cell phone provider. Ask the website administrator or ISP to remove any Web page created to hurt your child.
- If harassment is via e-mail, social networking sites, IM, and chat rooms, instruct your child to “block” bullies or delete your child’s current account and open a new one.
- If harassment is via text and phone messages, change the phone number and instruct your child to only share the new number with trustworthy people. Also, check out phone features that may allow the number to be blocked.
- Let local law enforcement and/or your child’s school know what is going on regarding the cyber bully. Read the school’s policy on bullying prevention.
- Make a report to cybertipline.com and if you feel something illegal has occurred, inform law enforcement.
Additional information: Internet Safety for Students
Sample Agreement to make with your student: Parent/Student Internet Safety Agreement
Additional Information and Resources for Internet Safety can be found at the Oklahoma State Department of Education’s Web Site
Resources for Using Internet Safely: Keeping Kids Safe in Cyber Space
Resources for Protecting Identity: Protecting Your Identity While You Shop