Internet Protection Tips For Every Safe Adult

Recently, the Boys & Girls Club of America discussed the importance of keeping kids and teens safe while using the internet.

Teens spend more than seven hours online each day, outside of schoolwork, and tweens spend nearly five hours online every day.

Some online safety programs that can help are NetSmartz and KidSmartz, online safety programs from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC); also Common Sense Education's Digital Citizenship, and Digital Literacy activities at Boys & Girls Clubs of America's MyFuture virtual learning platform. Sarah Nemecek "Internet Safety for Kids and Teens" (Dec. 01, 2022).

Commentary and Checklist

Knowing how to help protect children using the internet is important. Here are some tips:

  • Set rules for computer and mobile device use
  • Keep computers in public areas of the home and monitor children's online activity. Know the child's passwords to computer, email, and social media accounts
  • Monitor your child's mobile devices for sites visited, email, cell phone, and text use, and let your child know you are doing it
  • Teach the child what personal information is and to never share it with people outside the family. Help your child make location, gender, and age neutral email addresses
  • Instruct your children to use privacy settings on social media sites and also remind them that even high privacy settings do not guarantee their personal information will not be shared. Know who the child's social media friends are
  • Encourage the child to show you inappropriate email, texts, and social media posts. Save them or take screen shots as evidence of cyber exploitation
  • Remind the child that anything posted on the Internet stays on the Internet forever. Teach the child emails, posts, images, and texts cannot be kept private. They can be shared and forwarded
  • Advise the child not to respond to online bullying or online sexual activity. Report any cyber incidents involving children that are sexual in nature
  • Change the child's phone number if he or she is receiving bullying, threatening, or sexual texts and/or calls
  • Discourage children from accessing the Internet from locations that are not secure
  • Instruct the child never to meet someone he or she met online unless a trusted adult is present
  • Approve all images, videos, and blogs before the child posts them; and
  • Listen to the child. Children do send signs and signals that communicate something is wrong. Keep lines of communication open and encourage the child to share any bad online experiences.
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