I participated in this campaign about online child safety on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Boys & Girls Clubs of America. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.
June is National Internet Safety Month. Do you have concerns for online child safety? I sure do!
I took some time to visit the CyberSafeFutures.org website and watched a few videos. I learned great ways to interact with my children and how to talk with them about their presence online.
By taking the Cyber Survivor Challenge Quiz I was able to pinpoint areas to focus on with online child safety and feel pretty good about the results. I'm a Cyber Survivor and was able to answer each of their questions correctly. Are you as cyber savvy as I am?
Here are some great ways you can protect your children and stay in the know about online child safety and what they're up to when they're surfing the net:
7 Tips for Online Child Safety
1. Set Limits
Did you know that the earliest your child is technically allowed to have a Facebook page is 13? Make sure your kids know what sites are ok for them to use and what sites are off limits.
Try and keep limits to the amount of social networking time they're allowed each day as well. By setting a healthy limit on the time they spend online you can monitor what they're doing.
2. Be Aware
It's very easy for a child to navigate and find “friends” that are outside of their normal social circles. If you're involved and know who their friends are you can better protect them.
Friend your child on their social networking sites for better online child safety. Let them know that you will be monitoring their activity and that you can read what they write to their friends and what their friends write back.
3. Talk Regularly
Talk to your children about online child safety. Make sure they know that they can come to you if they feel bullied or harassed online. And make sure that the friends they make online are friends they know in real life.
Need help finding out where to start? Download Discussion Cards from the BGCA website to get started.
Also make sure they know that they need to be respectful online as wel. Just because they're hidden behind a computer screen does not mean that they can attack or say mean things to others.
4. Control the Settings
Make sure to go in when you set up your child's social networking accounts and set the controls to private or limited for optimum online child safety. Make sure you know who can and who cannot have access to their profiles.
By doing this you can limit the people who can find and see your child online.
5. Google Your Child
Check up on your child regularly by simply Googling their name. See what sites pop up in your searches and research if it's your child's profile that's showing up or if it's simply someone else with the same name.
By regularly checking on your child's name you can see if others are talking about your child elsewhere.
6. Chat with Friends
Talk with other parents. See what they're doing and whats working for them. By gaining a different perspective you might find something you could be doing with your child that you weren't already.
Also talk with your child's school and teachers to find out what type of monitoring goes on when they're not at home. Find out if there are any people your child can talk to other than yourself if they feel bullied or harassed online.
7. Don't Forget the Mobile
If your child has their own smart phone make sure you're monitoring what they're doing on there as well. The same limits and rules should apply when they're mobile.
Let them know that you can pick up their phone at any time to check on what they're doing. This is not spying. This is being a concerned parent. They'll continue to be aware of what they're saying and the type of presence they're making online.
By setting limits, monitoring your children online, and keeping an open channel of communication, you can help reduce the chance that your child is a victim of cyber bullying and create a safe environment for your child online.