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Monday, June 13, 2016

June is Internet Safety Month-- And a Good Reminder to Check Your Children's Online Activities

School is almost out and that means your children will have more free time to browse the Internet (and hopefully play outside). June is Internet Safety Awareness Month--and a great time to remind ourselves to monitor what our children are doing online. 

In today's digital age it's critically important that young internet users understand how to browse the internet safely. While some children may not have the necessary judgment to understand the consequences of sharing personal information or photos, other children may choose to break the rules. That's why it's important to have a discussion about this important topic with your children.

Remember the risk that being online involves and talk to your children about how to be a safe internet user. Here are some tips to get the ball rolling:

Open Communication - Inform your child that you will be monitoring his or her behavior and explain why. Set rules and discuss them with your child in advance. 

Set Boundaries - Explain to your child what is and is not appropriate to share. Determine who they can and cannot communicate with. Set a policy about sharing photos, your location, your phone number, address, etc. Help them understand the reality involved with sharing such information as well as the potential consequences.

Monitor Online Presence - Make sure to collect your child's passwords and usernames for sites he or she wishes to use. Check regularly to ensure you approve of what information they are sharing.

Review Apps - Ensure that apps have a privacy policy and check to see what information is being collected. Verify whether the apps your child is using are free and if they are not discuss what you are comfortable with your child downloading and why. 

For more Internet safety tips, check out CARU's tips for Safety on Screen.

And now is also a great time to check your own online practices and make sure you are browsing safely and securely as well!