It’s getting close to the middle of the school year for most kids, and by now they’re probably pretty comfortable with the swing of things. As such, you’re probably finding your kids on the home computer surfing the Internet, “studying” online (haha), and chatting with their friends the web. As a parent and a tech geek, I’m all for kids learning and playing online. But as the school year progresses, most kids become lax in their safety consciousness when online.
It’s always a good idea to remind your kids about the importance of online safety, but here are three things you should make sure to keep on top of all year long:
- Don’t give out personally identifiable information:
First names are probably fine, but a last name should always be kept under wraps from anyone your kids interact with online. Other things to keep quite about are the locations of their home and school, frequent hangout spots, and after-school schedules. The last thing you want is some creepy stranger taking a 3 hour drive to visit your kid at little league!
- Keep kids social networking profiles private:
Places like Facebook allow kids (and adults) to post anything they want at any time they want, with little to no repercussions. Make sure that your kids don’t accidentally invite a web perv into their online life with an open and public profile.
- Let an adult know about cyberbullying:
Cyberbullying is no joke, and it’s happening more and more. Be sure to keep an open and honest dialog with your kids about online harassment, whether it’s about them, their friends, or someone they know at school. No child should have to live in fear or shame because of a cyberbully.
If you keep those three things alive and well during the entire year, your kids will have a much better, and safer, time on the Internet.