Originally posted on September 19, 2019.
Are your children safe online?
Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and other online sites are easy ways to create social networks. They can also be a great tool for teaching kids how to be safe online. Many current students have online Facebook accounts that are designed for adults 18 years or older. Because of the adult nature of some of these sites, it is easy for students to come across inappropriate material.
In the age of 21st century learning, we want our students to abide by acceptable use when on the Internet. In fact, we encourage students and parents to build online networks as they can be wonderful ways to increase learning and knowledge. Below are several things we would suggest parents talk about with their children.
Tell your kids:
-Never share names, schools, ages, phone numbers, or addresses
-Never send pictures to strangers
-Keep passwords private (except to parents)
-Don’t open any mail from strangers
-If something mean or creepy happens, immediately get a grown-up
- Visit only age-appropriate sites. Check out the site before your kids visit. Know what features exist – chat functions, game play, virtual worlds.
- Search safely. Use safe search settings for young kids or filtering software to limit inappropriate exposure.
- Avoid strangers. Tell your kids that people aren’t always who they say they are in cyberspace. If someone they don’t know talks to them (outside of controlled environments like Club Penguin), tell your kids they shouldn’t respond.
- Be a good cyber citizen! Remind kids that an Internet playground is still a playground and they need to play nice. A good rule of thumb: If they wouldn’t do something in real life, they shouldn’t do it online. Show your kids where they can report mean behavior or unkind content.
- Online cheating? It’s still cheating and it’s a no-no – pure and simple.
- Keep the computer in a central place where you can see what’s going on.
- Establish limits on the amount of time they spend online. Use a family media agreement. (Free at commonsensemedia.org)
- View your own habits carefully. You are their role models.
- Set clear rules beforehand. But mostly, be involved and have fun!