While there are unique safety challenges specific to each form of technology, service, and app, here are ten general practices to support online safety.
- Keep your computer or tablet in a high-traffic area – e.g., the kitchen or family room.
- Set limits regarding the sites your kids are allowed to visit, and for how long.
- Spend time with your children online and invite them to show you sites and activities they enjoy, including chat rooms and social networking.
- Reinforce body-safety and cyber-safety rules:
- “It’s not okay for other people (kids, teens or adults) to show you pictures or movies of naked people. If you see a photo of a naked person on the computer, please come tell me.”
- “If you have an interaction online or by phone that makes you feel uncomfortable, please tell me or another trusted adult.”
- “If someone tries to contact you by computer or phone who you don’t know, please come tell me or another trusted adult.”
- “Keep your personal information private with your family (birth date, phone #, address, passwords).”
The more you talk with your children about body safety, online safety, sex and sexuality, the more likely your children will seek you out if they have questions or find themselves in an uncomfortable situation. Continually remind children and teens that you have a “no-secrets” home, and that there is nothing they can say or do to make you not love them.