Do you know where your child is...online?
So often we - as parents - monitor the physical whereabouts of our children. But what about their online whereabouts and activities? Are you familiar with the programs your child is using through his or her smartphone, electronic tablet, or computer?
APD detectives recently charged 8 local high-school age youth for their roles in posessing and/or distributing child pornography through social media channels. This investigation underscores the importance of teaching good online safety behavior through proactive parent involvement and education.
How can you help?
Members of the Internet Crimes Against Child Task Force strongly recommend the following for parents:
- Monitor your child’s activity on all electronic communication devices, including smart phones, tablets, and computers.
- Research and discuss any unfamiliar applications and programs your child is using.
- Talk to your kids about proper internet safety and “netiquette” (internet etiquette).
- Reinforce that whatever they post online - stays online. Some of the images found during this investigation were taken several years ago, when the kids were in Junior High School.
- Join and explore the applications your children are using, so you understand the programs and how they work.
Internet Safety Tips for Kids
- Never give out personal information such as your name, home address, school name, or telephone number in a chat room or on a bulletin board.
- Never send a picture of yourself to someone you chat with on the computer without your parent’s permission.
- Never write to someone who has made you feel uncomfortable or scared.
- Do not meet someone or have them visit you without permission of your parents.
- Tell your parents, or someone you trust, right away if you read anything on the internet that makes you feel uncomfortable.
- Remember that people online may not be who they say they are.
“Netiquette” and Internet Safety Guidelines for Everyone
- Check your privacy settings – ensure that only the people you want to see your information have access to it.
- Rule of thumb – if you wouldn’t say or do something in front of a live audience, don’t do it online.
- Treat online “friends” with as much respect as those you meet face to face, to avoid online bullying behavior.
- Do not post provocative or inappropriate photos – ever. Remember: what’s posted online – stays online, even if you delete it from your own account.
- Limit the amount of information you share online.
- Protect your identity, and never provide personal information to anyone you don’t know. This includes your address, phone number, or even whether you are home alone.
- Block or “un-friend” people who post nasty comments or don’t treat you with respect.