National Cyber Safety Awareness Day is not the type of day where you have to go to church, attend a picnic, or buy someone a gift. It is a day created to help spread awareness for staying safe online – something that each of us needs to practice EVERY day.
The Internet and e-communications are valuable and beneficial for an infinite amount of reasons. However, they can expose us to danger if they aren’t used with proper care. Everyone is susceptible to these dangers, but children are especially vulnerable, as many have not developed the skills or real-world experience to see the potential problems and know how to handle them. We, as parents, need to help keep them safe online. We need to educate them, monitor them and practice online safety to ensure their well-being in this digital world – for both the present and their futures.
Innovations in the internet and social media grow at lightning speed every day! As parents, we must stay up to date on these technologies- our children’s safety depends on it. Each day in the news there are criminal stories involving social media such as cyber bullying, suicide, child pornography, or predators engaging children under false profiles. By educating yourself, monitoring your children’s activity, and talking with them on how to handle problems as they happen you can help prevent your child from being a victim.
What Can You Do on Cyber Safety Day (and all days)?
1. We encourage you to speak to everyone you know about the importance of cyber safety including your family, teachers, friends, neighbors, babysitters, doctor, or anyone who is involved in the lives of your children. Be a true advocate!
2. We encourage you to have specific discussions with your children to discuss:
- a. Your expectations of their behavior online
- b. Your involvement in their online activity
- c. The networks where they have accounts, and how to use them
- d. The dangers that lurk online
3. Join us on Twitter on May 17th at 1pm CT for a Tweet Chat to talk with other parents about online safety, tips and concerns.
- # truecaresafetyday
4. Download the Family Social Media Agreement to start conversations with your children this week. This is a GREAT tool to help facilitate healthy, open conversation around cyber safety so you can set your expectations clearly and learn more about their “world” online.
5. And visit our Internet Safety Resources page on May 17th for an Internet Safety Quiz for both parents and kids.
While we focus mainly on social media safety, we want to remind you that cyber safety includes being safe on:
- Personal Computers – Protect your computer. It is important to install virus protection software and a firewall and to check for updates regularly
- Search Engines – Utilize passwords and locks to make sure your child is not browsing the web freely.
- Identity – Protect your personal information online including your address, name, telephone number, birth date and/or social security number.
- Social Networking – Sharing information with your “friends” or “followers” is the foundation of social networking. But sharing too much can be a problem, so use your privacy settings to limit who can view your profile, photographs, and personal information.
- Email – Internet safety also applies to email activity including online scams and viruses.
The TrueCare Team