As parents and caregivers of children, we all worry about keeping our children safe. With the increased exposure our children have to all things via the internet, this has become an even more difficult task.
While I believe it should be left to the discretion of the parent or guardian as to whether they speak with their child about specific sites or chatrooms that are perceived to be inappropriate or to pose a danger, I think we should always remind our children about safe internet and social media usage. We should remind them not to contact or talk with strangers over the internet. They should always know the identity of the person(s) they are communicating with and should never share personal information. Also, most apps that our kids are using have privacy settings that allow you to control who your child is interacting with and who can see their posts. Despite hectic schedules, parents also need to make time to monitor and review their child’s internet use. One way to help minimize the danger of children accessing inappropriate web material is to require that electronics only be used in shared spaces of your home.
As a school district, we are challenged daily to provide our students with access to technology but to also ensure that it is used appropriately and that nothing is accessed that could endanger a child. This is not an easy task as the internet is constantly changing. Within our school district, all access to internet usage has content filtering enabled to provide students with a secure online environment.
Ultimately, however, the best way to protect our kids is to educate them about the dangers they may encounter on the internet and to encourage them to talk with you about anything that makes them feel uncomfortable. Encourage them to use social media in a safe way to improve their lives and the lives of others. Finally, anything on the internet that endangers children should be reported to local law enforcement for further investigation.
Please click here for Top Tips for Parents from National Online Safety.