We may take it for granted that kids are tech savvy—they know how to keep themselves safe, right? But the statistics are daunting. According to a study by McAfee, 87 percent of teens have observed cyberbullying (McAfee, 2014 Teens and the Screen study: Exploring Online Privacy, Social Networking and Cyberbullying). And Consumer Reports found that one million children were harassed, threatened or subjected to other forms of cyberbullying on Facebook during the year of the study (Consumer Reports, 2011).
The Anchorage Police Department offers classes for parents in cyber security if you need additional support. They also visit Anchorage schools to present parents with tips to help keep their kids safe online.
Remember to stay positive. We are all humans—more alike than we are different. Remind kids that social media has a memory, and the things they post online will follow them. If posts are negative or hateful, they may impact a person's ability to get a job, go to college and more. Listen to Jill Tarter's TED Talk with your kids to explore the idea of a bond between all humans. Tarter says, "We live on a fragile island of life in a universe of possibility."
For additional reading, check out the Children’s Safety Network resource guide for parents and kids on Internet safety.
1. Limit computer use to high-traffic areas of your home.
2. Establish limits for which online sites children may visit and for how long.
3. Remember that Internet technology can be mobile, so make sure to monitor cell phones, gaming devices and laptops.
4. Surf the Internet with your children and let them show you what they like to do online.
5. Know who is connecting with your children online and set rules for social networking, instant messaging, emailing, online gaming and using webcams.
6. Set and maintain the passwords for your children's email and social media profiles and be open with them about when and how you will monitor activity.
7. Continually dialogue with your children about online safety.
This article was originally published in the July 30, 2017, print edition of Back to School. Contact the editor, Jamie Gonzales, with questions or comments: firstname.lastname@example.org.