Below is just a small sampling of the many resources to assist you in making the Internet a safer place for children and teens. It is our department’s belief that there is no such thing as a completely safe place on the Internet for anyone. We also believe that there is no software that can catch all threats. The BEST DEFENSE is PARENTAL MONITORING and INVOLVEMENT.
Do your kids type in Acronyms when they chat and email? Click here for CNN’s list of
28 Internet Acronyms Every Parent Should Know.
FBI Safe Online Surfing Tips
Social Media Safety
Talk to your kids about why they use social media, how they communicate with others and how they represent themselves on social media.
Kids shouldn’t lie about how old they are. Many social media outlets have minimum age requirements. Oftentimes, they will take extra precautions to protect younger members and they are not able to do so if they do not identify themselves as such. Many social media outlets will delete users whom they find to be younger than 14, or those misrepresenting their age.
Social media outlets are a public space. Members shouldn’t post anything they wouldn’t want the world to know (e.g., phone number, address, IM screen name, or specific whereabouts). Tell your children they should avoid posting anything that would make it easy for a stranger to find them, such as their local hangouts.
Remind them not to post anything that could embarrass them later or expose them to danger. Although social media is public, teens sometimes think that adults can’t see what they post. Tell them that they shouldn’t post photos or info they wouldn’t want adults to see.
People aren’t always who they say they are. Ask your children to be careful about adding strangers to their friends list. It’s fun to connect with new friends from all over the world, but members should be cautious when communicating with people they don’t know. They should talk to you if they want to meet an online friend in person, and if you think it’s safe, any meeting should take place in public and with friends or a trusted adult present.
Harassment, hate speech and inappropriate content should be reported. If your kids encounter inappropriate behavior, let them know that they can let you know, or they should report it to that social media outlet or the authorities.
ANOTHER TAKE ON TIPS FROM THE FBI
1. Be Careful–Unless your profile is set to private, anyone can check it out. You should never post personal information such as your phone number, address, school, or where you regularly hang out. If you wouldn’t share it with a creepy stranger on the street, don’t post it on social media. Remember that the Internet is a public place and you should think about what you share.
2. Be Skeptical–We may have an idea of who someone is or why they’re messaging us, but the truth is, when we’re online we should be a little more skeptical. As you’re connecting with people, get to know them first before adding them to your friends list. Only add the people that you want to see your profile, check out your friends and view your photos.
3. Be Picky–We all want to share funny things we’ve done with friends, but once you post something online it can live in cyberspace forever. Before you post an image or comment, take a minute to consider if it’s something that might haunt you in a few years–imagine a potential boss or college recruiter is doing a search on you. Don’t blow your opportunities for tomorrow just to be cute or outrageous today.
4. Be a Good Online Citizen–Social media is a place where
everyone should feel welcome. If you see hate speech or inappropriate content, or if you’re being harassed by another user, talk to your parents and report it immediately. Think of this as a great, new neighborhood we ALL want to keep safe.
5. Be Real–Social media is a community and you get out of it what you put in. Use common sense and think about what behavior is ok and what’s not cool for the community. The more respectful you are to others, the better the site is for everyone. If you disrespect the community by posting fake profiles or lying about your age, you’ll be removed–no exceptions.