Spring Break is here! Excitement is in the air for kids and parents who may have something fun planned for the week off school. Many families take a vacation. Older teens may go on a spring break trip with friends. Some parents will work while kids stay home alone.
Regardless of your plans, if it involves more time online or social networking for you or your kids, TrueCare has some basic reminders of potential dangers to be aware of during spring break time.
We advise parents to speak with their kids about appropriate online behavior, especially since they may be spending more time online over spring break week. Kids should be aware that the Internet is a place where anything posted can be shared and stored forever. Help your child understand that their online behavior in just one week can negatively impact their futures. Teach them to be smart about what they post.
If your kids are on vacation for spring break, you might want to remind them of the following do’s and don’ts:
DO if you do post pictures of you and your friends or family on spring break, be careful of posting any revealing photos in swimsuits or revealing outfits.
DO put restrictive privacy settings on the photos you post to limit the potential people who can see them.
DO if you do decide to post a few status updates during your trip to tell people what you’re doing, be careful not to post your full itinerary or excessive details about your activities that can leave you vulnerable to thieves and predators.
DO remember that colleges and future employers may be watching your site. DON’T make them regret their decision for accepting or hiring you based on anything you post.
DO remember that the world is watching you. Whether that is mom/dad, aunt/uncle, grandma, professors, employers, academic institution or other, someone is watching what you are doing. Put your best foot forward.
DON’T post pictures freely or let yourself be tagged in other photos. You probably don’t know how their privacy settings are set, and could be vulnerable to anyone downloading those photos.
DON’T post inappropriate photos of you and your friends in your swimsuits or other revealing outfits. You never know who may be looking at them and how they may interpret them. Predators love spring break and the sneak peek it gives them at potential prey.
DON’T connect with people you meet on spring break while still on spring break. Take time to find out who they are before you decide to “friend” or connect with them.
DON’T be “that” friend… the one who everybody worries about posting the bad pictures.
DON’T post activity that is illegal (such as drinking or smoking) if you are under 21. Drinking is illegal, even if you are in a country where it is legal.
DON’T post pictures of excessive drinking even if you are 21 and over. A drink in hand is very different than a party scene. Remember, potential employers could be checking on you in the future. Keep your character in check.
If your kids will be home alone while you are at work:
DO ensure your computer has the proper parental monitoring software in place and that passwords are set appropriately.
DO remind them of the time limits for being online during the day.
DO remind your kids about your expectations and rules for social media.
DO monitor their postings and check their browser history that week.
Some parents might even take the idea of spring break to heart and simply decide to take a break from it all – no TV, no Internet, no cell phones. A great idea, but awfully hard to do in today’s technology driven world. Enjoy your break!