Summer Cyber Safety Made Simple

Because kids are not in school during the summer, they have more time to use the computer.  Consequently, you need to make sure your kids’ summertime cyber experiences are positive. To help you, we’ve created a simple acronym as a guidepost for steps you can take and tactics you can implement to protect your children from online dangers.

And what acronym did we pick? Well, we picked SUMMER. Go figure!

Set clear expectations and establish an ongoing dialogue – Before the computer even gets turned on, you can make a positive impact on your child’s Internet safety. When parents talk regularly with their kids about the Internet, kids demonstrate fewer risky behaviors while online. Plan a time when you can have a conversation with your kids and discuss expectations for use of the computer this summer. Spend time with your child online and create an atmosphere of trust. Encourage your children to make good decisions, and temper your reactions when they run into danger.

To ensure you and your child understand the expectations, together review and sign the cyber safety youth pledge.

Understand the need for cyber safety  and implement Rules N’ Tools on all Internet enabled devices– It’s the beginning of summer, and implementing the tactics in this article is a great start to ensuring your child’s summer is not tainted by accidental pornography viewing, cyberbullying or predation.  However, sometimes it’s hard to make good intentions last all through the summer.  I’ve learned that if I am to follow through with my good intentions, I need to understand what makes my intentions all that good in the first place.

So here’s what I recommend: Go through the four part Internet Safety 101℠ DVD teaching series available from www.internetsafety101.org and the Rules N’ Tools℠ Booklet. Next, I would recommend printing out the Rules N’ Tools ℠ checklist and posting it in a place you will see it frequently, like on the refrigerator. Take five minutes each day to review the checklist.

As you review the four part Internet Safety 101℠ DVD teaching series and Rules N’ Tools℠ Booklet, you will be educated, equiped and empowered with the knowledge and resources needed to protect your children from the online dangers of pornography, sexual predators, cyberbullies and risks related to social networking, online gaming and mobile devices.

It’s also important to use filtering technology that blocks inappropriate web sites. You can even set up time limits on your computer that will restrict endless, all-day access. It’s important you understand how to use these features and why these features are important.

When we more fully understand a danger, we are more likely to implement and follow through with practices that will keep us and our children protected from that danger.

Make sure you’re friends with your child on social networking sites – Make sure you, as the parent, are added to your child’s “friends list,” because if their profiles are set to private – as they should be – you will not be able to view any of your child’s information. If you are unsure whether your child has an online profile, conduct a simple online search.

With the excitement of summer in the air, your kids will likely engage in many fun-filled summertime activities.  It’s likely that kids will bring cameras and cell phones to these events and then post pictures and videos from the events on social networking sites like Facebook and Myspace. If you’re not friends with your children on social networking sites, you may not be able to see these pictures or see what other things your children are posting online.

More importantly, you need to be friends with your kids online so you can see what other kids or adults post on your child’s social media profile or on YouTube.  Kids’ online and offline lives have merged, and it’s important you not only know your child’s friends in real life but are also aware of their digital relationships.

Match computer time with quality time – Kids love spending time on the computer.  But they also love spending time with you. Make sure you set technology time outs each day to spend with your kids doing something they enjoy.  It doesn’t need to be an all day affair, but regular quality time will deepen your relationship with your child.

In a recent survey, teens who rated their relationship with their parent as positive were 20 percent less likely to seek online pornography than teens who rated their relationship with their parent as poor. Additionally, make sure your kids are spending quality face time with their friend and family members and engage in outdoor play.

Evolve with the Internet – Digital technology is constantly changing and evolving.  In order to fully protect your kids from digital dangers, you need to stay up to date on how the Web functions and is used. The World Wide Web has transformed from a collection of web sites to a full-fledged communicative platform, changing where and how we interact, share and seek information. The first generation of the Web was called Web 1.0. Today we use Web 2.0. Web 2.0 facilitates creativity, information sharing, online communities and collaboration among users. Additionally, the interactive Web can now be accessed by a wide variety of Internet enabled devices including laptops, PDA’s, cell phones, iPads and gaming devices.

If you do not understand the new ways the Internet is being used, you may be putting your child at risk. To gain a greater understanding of Web 2.0 and stay up to date on changes made to digital technologies visit: http://www.internetsafety101.org/web20.htm.

Review, research and monitor the sites your children view – When your child is off the computer, check the web history.  Take a look at some of the sites your children are visiting.  Many sites that contain pornography do not have explicit web addresses.  In fact, many porn sites are simple misspellings of sites your children regularly visit.  Do not just look at the web history, but make sure you explore the sites your children frequent. If you notice the history has been cleared or deleted, have a discussion with your child about the sites he or she visited. Be aware that kids can selectively delete files from the history list. If you are concerned about your child’s online activity, you may want to install monitoring software.

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3 Comments

  1. T G

    I am actually 49 and a bullying victim for over five years.

    As an adult I was so surprised at the varying age groups of my bulliers. This is some kind of political pundit which I guess they need a “villian”.

    I guess what gets me the most after not attending any family gatherings since 2007–is to not say names. In the Chicago loop, I never realized why people are so careful to not say people’s names and discuss them. You try to be so tight lipped. I never realized how just knowing someone you know could make you a bullying victim.

    I had a huge box of cards and letters after several years of working mostly. Those co-worker birthday cards became literally reasons to call them to see if they were having an affair. Seriously, I never realized how names and addresses could ruin you. I backed out of a tiny wedding once and I felt that my life had been ruined due to spending the wedding money and everyone being mad although the groom was hated by then. The fact that I had spent the money made everyone so mad.

    I never realized how important it is to have a good, loving supporting family.

    Seriously–watch who you tell names too. Also, lock up your address book, old letters, and anything with credit card or banking information.

    LOYALTY is so important!!! I think there is always a time to walk away from bad relationships where you are treading upstream all the time.

    This is worse than REVENGE OF THE NERDS. I guess if you would never introduce the person to the person–somehow you can never discuss the person with another person. I know that anonymonity is good with anyone. However, there is nothing like someone living vicariously through you or a green-eyed monster when it is a sibling who was never invited in your home.

    Protect your relationships!!! Seriously–be careful of what you rant and rave about!!! Loyalty is everything!!! I never wanted my employer and my family members too meet. Not that I think I am better just that my relationships are professional and my family is twice-a-year thing. Seriously–I have never been so humiliated as when my sisters family showed up. My employer has told me to get these people away from them!! It is so humiliating and they think they are teaching me a lesson!!! My Mother keeps telling me she has this right!! Seriously I am so embarassed. I have collapsed inside emotionally beyond despondence. This is the cruelest thing I have heard of. Seriously some kind of family feud involving your employer!!! Just avoid saying the name at all–any comment such as my friend does this or that. Seriously this is over five years of just family feuding. Just plain rediculous over nothing!!!

    Seriously–don’t do as I do!! Learn to never say names!!!

  2. Hi there, I want to subscribe for this blog to take newest updates, therefore where
    can i do it please help.

    • Hey Tracey

      Thanks for your inquiry, if you go online to our website, http://www.internetsafety101.org you can click on the “BLOG” button and it will bring you to the subscription page.

      Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

      Thank you,
      Lillian Schoeppler
      Office Manager

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