Help Your Kids Have a Cyber-Safe Summer

School’s out for summer! Kids and teens are spending more time on the internet playing their favorite games and connecting with friends on social media than ever before. It’s important to remember that these video games, chat-rooms, and social media platforms all open children up to potential risk, as they are often targets of cybercrime. Ask your kids about their personal experiences on the internet. Do they know what websites are safe? Have they had a negative experience on social media? Opening this dialogue with your kids is vital in protecting them from cybercrime. We have a few useful tips to help you navigate this topic effectively. If your child is exposed to cybercrime, visit us here for next steps and resource support. 

Talk to them. Make sure your children are comfortable telling you when something goes wrong. The best way to defend their cyber-safety is open communication. Start the dialogue about internet safety with your kids today!

Differentiate between safe and unsafe sites. If your child is old enough to navigate the internet freely, consider opening the dialogue about the differences between safe and unsafe websites. Teach your kids to recognize the warning signs. Sites that have concerning pop-ups, are abnormally slow-functioning, or look illegitimate can be risky. A secure website will always begin with “https” rather than “http”. These distinctions are key at any age! Giving your kids the tools they need to navigate the web safely is vital. 

If your children are young, consider setting parental controls on your devices. Some websites will have built-in age restrictions, but according to Kaspersky Labs, 17% of 8 to 16-year-olds pretend to be older than they really are online. It’s important that you discuss the reason for these restrictions with your children, as well as set up your own parameters. Most internet service providers will allow you to restrict screen time, websites, pop-ups, etc. These controls give you the opportunity to limit your child’s exposure to unsafe websites! 

Teach them good social media habits. Your teen may want to share photos of their vacation or chat with friends over the summer break. Social media is a great way to stay connected! According to the Pew Research Center, 95% of kids ages 12-17 actively use the internet. While it’s fun to use these social sites, there are some essential privacy points to make your kids aware of. 

Make sure they know who is viewing their profile! They can edit their privacy settings on any social platform to ensure that only their friends and family can access their photos and posts. Let your kids know the importance of being selective when adding friends – adding strangers exposes them to cyber-safety risk. 

It’s also important to teach your teens about the risks of oversharing on social media. Posting photos and updates can keep you connected to those close to you, but teens should be sure not to share anything too personal. They should certainly never share confidential information about their identity. Phone numbers and addresses of places they frequent should be kept private. It’s crucial that your kids remember they are posting on a public platform!



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