I have a young son (“The Professor”) who loves to use the computer. As you can see from the photo above, taken a few years ago, he feels completely comfortable with technology. It amazes me how quickly kids pick up technology. However, that is why it is so important to do everything we can as parents to keep our children safe online.
The computer is not the babysitter.
I know how tempting it can be to put my child in front of a video game on the computer for a few minutes of wonderful, uninterrupted peace and quiet. However, once harmful images are seen online, they cannot be “unseen”. Once a child has been bullied online, the scars remain forever. Once a child gives out private information unknowingly trusting a stranger, the damage has already been done.
It’s a sobering thought that I could compromise my child’s safety and innocence to make myself more comfortable for only a few short minutes…
I’m partnering today with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America to raise awareness of the need to keep our children “Cyber Safe” this summer. Many of our children will spend hours this summer online, and we must do all we can to protect them.
Here are some tips to keep your child safe online this summer:
- Be specific about what’s appropriate to share online and what should be kept private. What you think is personal and what your child thinks is personal may be very different. Ask your child what kinds of things he thinks are okay to share online.
- Model good online behaviors for your child and talk about what you like to do online. Discuss a time you had to make a decision about what to share online and how you decided what to do.
- Spend time with your child online. Ask her to show you her favorite sites. Play her favorite online game with her. By spending time with her, you can share your values and let her know what she should and should not share via the Internet.
- Tell your child to never share her passwords with anyone. It’s becoming more common today, especially among pre-teens who are exploring how to talk with the opposite sex. Many teens believe sharing passwords is a way of building trust with their friends.
- Tell your child to ask an adult he trusts if he has a question about something he wants to share online.
- Invest in internet filtering (like “Covenant Eyes” which I highly, highly, highly recommend) so that your child sees only websites that you would want them to see
To learn more ways to keep your family safe, check out the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and their “Cyber Safe” website. There are several videos and great tips for keeping your family safe online.
Stay vigilent, Mama! This matters!
Disclosure: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Boys & Girls Clubs of America. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.