The internet is an amazing tool. Children can use it to learn, explore, communicate, get news, and be entertained. Unfortunately, people can use the Internet to harm or exploit children. It is important to take the reality of online threats seriously. While our lives can get busy, taking some time to understand the risks and simple ways to protect your children is one of the best investments you can make.
The internet has been a primary source of bullying known as, cyberbully. Cyberbully is an act of willful and repeated use of an electronic communication device by children and teens to harass and threaten other children. This is often times over looked. It is important for parents to be aware of this potential threats and take intentional precautions to prevent this from happening.
Here are some Internet Safety Tips for your family:
- Keep the computer in a family room – not the kid’s bedrooms.
- Educate students on responsible use of the internet & smart phones.
- Teach kids to never fill out forms or provide personal information to others (name, number, e-mail, address, school, social security numbers, etc.) with out you present.
- Make sure they know it is okay to come to you if anything scary, hurtful, or uncomfortable happens while they are online.
- Discuss online safety with your kids. Agree on house rules and post them near the computer monitor. These reminders can include what they can and cannot do online.
- If you are cyberbullied, resist the urge to take revenge or turn around and do the same thing to someone else. Stop the cycle!
- Take proactive and positive steps such as blocking communication with cyberbullies and reporting the problem.
- If you receive messages that are excessively intimidating, or mention extortion, violence or sexual exploitation, print these messages and show them to your parents who can contact your school or law enforcement.