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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Sharing & Privacy: Protecting Your Web-Entranced Kids


As the Internet becomes as common in our lives as commuting in cars, it has also found its way into the daily lives of our children. In fact, for many kids and parents, the Internet is an endless source of entertainment, education and distraction. However, it can also be a dangerous place on a number of fronts. According to the San Diego Country District Attorney, 45 million children between the ages of 10 and 17 use the Internet on a daily basis. Of the children who use the Internet, around 75 percent are only moderately supervised, if supervised at all. Considering there is no shortage of disturbing material online, it’s critical that kids are educated about how to keep themselves safe when they are online. Below are some tips for kids to use when they're online, with or without your supervision. 

Click image to enlarge. Link to full Inforgraph courtesy of Pew Research Center

Never Give Out Personal Information 

The first thing to make clear to your child, is that he should never give out his personal information online to anyone he doesn't know. This is not just because of the concern of someone coming to a child’s house or school and kidnapping them, but also for protection against identity theft. If you read identity theft protection testimonials online, you will hear horror stories about what happens to people when their identities are stolen—and how simple tricks and identity theft services can help to protect this from ever happening. This is even more relevant when we realize 33% of online teens have online friends they have never met in real life.

Credit report companies recommend that if your child’s identity is stolen, the first course of action to take is to go to the police and file a report. Then, contact the FTC (Federal Trade Commission), they will also investigate the situation. To keep it from happening in the future, it is critical to not only monitor your child’s internet activity more closely but also to get some sort of identity theft protection service like Lifelock. Read identity theft protection testimonials and other reviews to really get a sense of which service will be best for you and your family. 

Talk to Them About Cyber Bullying 

According to DoSomething.org, nearly 43 percent of kids have been bullied online and 70 percent of kids have seen bullying online on a regular basis. Signs to look for, if you're worried that your kid is a victim of cyberbullying is if he becomes angry or depressed or both. The main thing to do is to have them talk about what is troubling them and then to contact school officials and possibly even the parents of the kids who are doing the bullying. 

Never Fully Trust Internet Communication 

Make sure your children understand that the Internet can be manipulated very easily, which means people they think they know online may not be who they say they are. The difference between reality and the digital world is vast in many cases and the better kids understand that, the safer they will be.

In recognition of Internet Safety Month, CQI will be posting a series of blog post about online safety issues and ways you can keep you family safer on the when engaging in online activities. Stay tuned! 

Did you know CQI staff is available to make presentations in the Silicon Valley (CA)? Our subject matter experts will present to schools, parent groups, companies, civic and non-profit groups, profession and faith-based organizations about Online and Personal Safety. Contact us at info@childquest.org with the subject line “PRESENTATION"

Written & Edited by Anthony Gonzalez for Child Quest International

Related Articles:
5 Things You Should Know About Dangerous Online Communities
Cyberbullying & Protecting Your Child
Is Your Teen Sharing Too Much Online
10 Tips For Parents (Internet Safety)

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