Keeping Your Family Safe Online
Communication Technology is more important than ever before. Playing games online is more common than playing cards or board games at the kitchen table. The world wide web is a big place that is always changing, so it is important for the whole family to communicate regularly and agree on a plan to be brave and be safe online.
Discuss the benefits of communication technology:
Can you imagine going through weeks without it?
How many types and uses can you list?
Note that schools as well as businesses research potential students and employees online so it is important to post or send only messages and images (even among friends) that you wouldn’t mind sharing with the world.
Discuss potential dangers online:
People can easily pretend to be someone they are not (they can use someone else’s photo and lie about their age, location, job, and every other detail).
Links in text or imessages as well as emails often open malware (computer viruses) that can damage the device and/or send all of the data to someone else.
Depending upon the age of your child, brainstorm other potential dangers.
Privacy and Personal Information is Power:
There are some things that are special to you and/or your family so you should always have control over when, how, and with whom personal things are shared. Nothing posted or sent in an email is really private because it can be copied and shared with the world very easily.
Talk as a family about types of information that could be used by someone who is looking to do harm: a date of birth, address, phone number, and SSN are all personal information that should not be shared without checking with a parent or guardian. Scammers try to trick people into sharing these details to steal.
Note that when a mobile device’s GPS is on when you take a photo, the location is automatically included in the photo’s data when shared (Settings – Privacy – Location Services – OFF for photos).
Ask your child to show you their favorite sites, online games, and apps. Show them you care by showing interest in what they like. Watch or even play along for at least a few minutes.
Ask questions such as: What are your favorite things about it? Is there a chat or messaging function? If you see potential dangers, share your concerns, and agree on a plan to keep them safe. Slowly, but surely, check the Settings – Privacy, Security, and Video/Audio, on all of the devices and apps you and your children use.
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