15 Tips When Talking to Kids About Online Safety

Lets talk about internet safety for elementary aged kids. Internet safety is the new “stranger danger,” and in today’s online social climate parents can’t avoid the reality of this social connection any longer. Kids are savvy these days and navigating apps, you tube channels, vine videos, instagram, snapchat and search engines all comes second nature to kids as young as 7 years old. Parents… don’t be afraid. We must embrace this social culture with our kids and not ignore it, be afraid of it or dismiss it. Learn it! Engage with your child via social networks.  We just have to make sure we talk to our kids about being safe online and using their better judgement even as early as age 5.

Recently I stood in front of a room full of parents and gave a talk onTalking to Kids About Online Safety . This was specifically for the under 13 year old age group.( Because you know it’s illegal for a kid under 13 to have a social account right! See COPPA laws below.)I hope you find these tips helpful.


Talking to Kids About Online Safety

|| Talking to Kids About Online Safety ||

  1. Talk to your kids about internet safety OFTEN. Make sure they know to tell a parent when they feel uncomfortable with something they see online. Online safety is the new Stranger Danger.
  2. Always know your child’s passwords and accounts to everything they are doing. Children under 13 should not have social network accounts according to COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act). It is illegal for kids to have social accounts like Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram, so do not allow your child to have a FB, Snapchat, Instagram,VIne accounts. If your child does have a social account, make sure it is private and you, the parent, MUST friend them on all their social accounts. If this is an issue, take away their account. It’s illegal anyway.
  3. Frequently check the ‘history’ of the computer and smart phone/device your child is using. ( don’t know how to do this, drop me an email)
  4. If using apple products – log in via icloud on all your Apple devices – iPhone, itouch, ipad, and computers. This enables you to see the photos and videos your child is taking from their device.
  5. Keep the computer in a public space with the screen facing out – not a wall – kids should not have computers in their rooms.
  6. Monitor phone activity often. You are the parent and can take the phone away if you feel the child is hiding something from you or involved in something inappropriate.
  7. Teach your child the value and power of photographs and video. Do not allow friends to photograph or video them in embarrassing situations.Do not allow older siblings to photograph or video younger siblings in embarrassing situations.
  8. Snaphcat – the most popular tween/teen social outlet. While it claims images are immediately deleted… screen shots are never erased.
  9. Never share passwords with friends.
  10. Safety features on your phone, also privacy/safety settings have to be set on YouTube.com and Google.com. Which means turning safety features on your smart phone or device is NOT enough. You have to go to Youtube.com – scroll to the bottom of the page and select the safety features through that page. Same for Google, bing… etc.
  11. Limit screen time and if needed unplug your Wi-Fi.
  12. Parents MUST stay on top of online trends and news. Know how to use your computer, navigate FB, Instagram, vine, snapchat..etc
  13. Don’t be afraid to be that parent. Communicate your online usage expectations to the sitter or care givers.
  14. Do not let your child take their tablet or smart phone to bed. Phone stays on the dining table through the night, they can get it when the wake up.
  15. Be sure to enable all child safety programs and use passwords on your internet devices.

|| Resources ||

COPPA – http://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/complying-coppa-frequently-asked-questions#General Questions

COMMON SENSE MEDIA – https://www.commonsensemedia.org/privacy-and-internet-safety


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