Online social networks are part of daily life, especially for kids and teens. Unfortunately, these networks make for easy bullying. How do you protect your kids from cyber threats?
Bullying is fairly common, especially among teenagers. According to the Center for Disease Control in the U.S., nearly 20 percent of high school students have reported being bullied. Almost 15 percent of those same high school students reported being bullied online during the past year. Students who have experienced bullying are likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, have difficulties sleeping, and begin having a difficult time at school.
Kids.gov suggests parents have some sort of monitoring device to keep tabs on their kids. The site also suggests kids refrain from sending photos or videos of themselves to strangers. Set specific expectations about your children’s computer time. Stay firm on the rules. And finally, make sure to connect, friend or follow your kids on social media so that you can keep up with what they are posting. Be proactive and attentive to prevent online bullying. Encourage kids to talk to you should it ever occur.
Predators are a serious danger online. Be vigilant and monitor your child’s online activity and relationships. The FBI provides the following tips to keep your child safe from online predators:
- Keep the lines of communication with your child open. Explain to them that there are online predators and give them some tips on staying safe.
- Ask your children to teach you a few things on the computer. By spending time with your kids online you will be more familiar with their usage.
- Never allow your children to keep computers in their rooms. Put the computer in a common area of the house, like the living room so that it is visible to you or another member of the household.
- Take advantage of all of the free parental controls provided by service providers.
- Keep track of your children’s accounts and logins.
- Make sure you teach your children about the fact that anything that goes on the Internet is permanent.
- Teach your children to never give out identifying information or download photos from strangers.
Keeping your kids safe is important and by being honest and attentive you can ensure that predators are not communicating with them.
Cyber criminals are being charged every day with identity theft. Companies like Lifelock have spent years perfecting tools and creating resources to help you and your child avoid identify theft. Phishing scams and malicious software are often used to acquire the identity, logins, and passwords of individuals. We’ve learned to spot scams quickly, but children and teens have not yet learned these valuable lessons.
US News suggests that you check your child’s credit report regularly. This will allow you to quickly address any concerns you may have about questionable activity. Teach your kids about phishing scams and to be suspicious about any links or messages that request their login or personal information.
Do your best to keep your children safe online. By being a proactive parent and staying informed can help your children avoid cyberbullying and identity theft.