In today’s day of technology, online gaming and social media it is so important to remember the risks of being online and how to go the extra mile to keep our little ones safe. Recently we attended Jillian Harris' webinar regarding online safety. This really opened our eyes to the dangers out there and different ways we can protect our children- and we wanted to share what we learned with you!
10 Tips For Staying as Safe as Possible Online:
1. TALK ALL THE TIME: Make sure to have regular discussions about what apps your child is using, and which people they are connecting with on these apps. This is important to keep track of, perhaps even write these names and info down. We have to remember that we don’t know who everyone is online.
2. KNOW THEIR GAMES- KNOW THEIR FRIENDS: The next one may be dependent on the age of your child, but we want to make sure we are aware of the each new games or new friend request! For young children (we recommend under the age of 10) it is important that their online time is monitored by a parent or a trusted adult.
3. SAFE SUPPORT: Often children do not reach out for support because they are afraid their parents/guardians may become mad or angry and possibly be punished and have screen time taken away. Make sure you children feel safe and know they won’t be in trouble if they reach out to you for assistance.
4. STRANGER DANGER: Make sure to remind you children that online friends are not always who they say they are, and that they are still a stranger. Just because you’re young one thinks they have met a new friend via TikTok, Instagram or online gaming it is important to remind them that this might not be who they say they are.
5. BEWARE OF CATS: Cat-fishing is the term where individuals use photos and pretend to be someone they are not. This could be someone older pretending to be a teenager, A teenager pretending to be someone older... you can never really be sure. Children and teens are quick to trust online especially when isolated during this pandemic. Catfishes can use grooming manipulation tactics on young children to make them believe they should meet up, send pictures and other inappropriate asks.
6. MEET IN PERSON: A way to avoid this is to accompany you’re a child as I meet their online friend and perhaps ask a friend to bring their parent or guardian as well. To meet at a public setting such as a coffeehouse, restaurant or a crowded park. Do do not meet at an enclosed location! It can be so heartbreaking and dangerous to learn that many of these individuals may be speaking to someone that they are not aware of.
7. FILTER INFORMATION: Outline which types of information should and should NOT be shared - location, personal information, pictures. As a parent you want to let your child grow and learn on their own, but that being said there are still steps you should take to be as safe as possible .
8. TURN OFF SHARING PREFERENCES: One step would be to ensure that your child's sharing locations option is off for Snapchat TickTok, Instagram and other gaming and online apps. Along with location make sure that these apps do not have access to photos or videos on your child’s phone. There’s no need for these apps to access such personal information from your children and it makes it easier for others to access such private information.
9. NO GIFTS ALLOWED: Teach your child to never accept gifts online such as money, gift cards, cheat codes or admin codes from online friends! Again these people are still strangers.
10. CREATE A SAFETY PLAN: Lastly, Create a safety plan! This plan is for when someone crosses a line online, making your child feel unsafe or uncomfortable. The plan should include: stop engaging in conversation, tell a caregiver or other trusted adults (define who is a trusted adult), report, and block the person who is making your child feel unsafe.
Please remember these tips, to keep your children as safe as possible online!