What do you know about online safety for kids?
Guest Post by Moe McClanahan…Director of Training & Education at the Safe Surfin’ Foundation
It’s important for parents to stay in control of their child’s Internet usage to prevent online victimization.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) is reporting a 97.5% increase in online enticement of children reports sent to the CyberTipline in 2020. (You can see the full statistics and more information on the CyberTipline here.)
Cyber crimes against children are increasing.
As a parent, it is important to know what your child is doing on the Internet so that you can keep them safe. What apps are they using? Who are they talking to?
While there are many advantages to having endless access to communication, it is also important to know the risks.
Predators are targeting children daily on communication apps like Facebook Messenger, Discord, TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, and so many more.
As a retired investigator working Internet Crimes Against Children, there were many times I would work reports of children in the community where their parents would allow them to download new apps believing they were very proactive in Internet safety. The parents claimed to have attended cyber-safety conferences and considered themselves social media savvy, yet their child was victimized on a new app by a predator.
As much as parents equip themselves in safeguarding their children, it is important to stay in control by implementing the following tips:
#1 Have continual conversations with your child.
It is important your child understands the dangers of the Internet and that you, as the parent, are in control. Continue these conversations throughout their adolescence into their teen years. Create an open form of communication so that your child feels comfortable coming to you if a dangerous situation arises.
#2 Check electronics weekly.
Establishing a set day in the week and programming a reminder in your phone as the parent/guardian is the perfect way to remember to check your child’s electronics and check their electronic wellness.
Look for inappropriate conversations from strangers or signs of being bullied by peers. Also look through the photo gallery (even the deleted photos) on the device and inside the apps.
#3 Set up an electronic contract.
This is great for older kids who are just starting to use the Internet. Having a written agreement not only allows you to have a conversation with your child about your expectations, but also holds them accountable if they breach the contract. This will also teach them responsibility along with accountability. If they break the contract, they will understand and expect different forms of discipline. Click here to view a free electronic contract provided by the Safe Surfin’ Foundation.
The Safe Surfin’ Foundation along with the Child Rescue Coalition has developed a FREE
eBook called C.R.A.M.. This resource is a parent’s study guide on managing kids and technology.
Click here to download your free comprehensive guide to online safety for kids.
Grown-ups: Please do yourself a favor and follow Moe on her excellent Instagram feed, SafeSurfin.
For more information on the topic of child safety, check out these blog posts:
Grooming 101: How to recognize a sexual predator
My #1 Trick for Protecting Children from Sexual Abuse
Check back next week for another blogpost on the topic of child safety!
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