June is Internet Safety Month! Kids are gearing up for summer vacation and they’ll be spending plenty of time online. This is a great opportunity to make sure you’re doing all you can to educate them about Internet safety.
Here are five things you can do this month to help protect them online.
- Review privacy settings and friends/followers – If your teens use sites or apps like Twitter, Snapchat, or Kik, find out who they’re talking to and who can see what they post. Remind them that nothing is ever really private online.
- Play games with them – The best way to learn about the games your kids are playing is to play with them. Explore the settings to see if there are safety or privacy features you can use. If they’re using voice chat to talk to other gamers, listen in to make sure it’s age-appropriate conversation.
- Encourage them to be upstanders, not bystanders – Cyberbullying doesn’t take a summer break. Talk to your kids about reporting cyberbullying when they see it and standing up for victims.
- Talk about sexting – Most teens aren’t sending or receiving sexual images, but those who do can be humiliated or get in serious trouble. Tell your teens to avoid these kinds of pictures – Don’t take them. Don’t ask for them. Don’t forward them.
- Learn how to report – Many sites and apps have ways to report cyberbullies and potential predators. Find out where the report features are and show your kids so they know what to do if they have a problem. You can also make a report to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at www.CyberTipline.com.
School is out soon, but we’ll be around all summer. Stick around for more online safety tips and resources. Have a safe and fun summer!