From Alliance For Children <[email protected]>
Subject Parenting Tips: Keeping your kids safe online
Date August 30, 2022 4:02 PM
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  Parenting Tips: Keeping Your Children Safe Online As we’re sending our children back to school, like most activities, technology is playing a role in the conversation. Should schools allow our kids to bring phones with them? Should our kids use their tablets at the dinner table? Are various apps safe for my child? If you're worried about your child's online usage and presence, we might be able to help. One of the free education programs that Alliance For Children offers for kids addresses internet safety directly. NetSmartz* is an online safety program created by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), the leading agency in keeping children safe from online risks. Since 1998, NCMEC has operated the CyberTipline, a place where the public and electronic service providers can report suspected online and offline child sexual exploitation. The millions of reports made each year uniquely situate NCMEC to identify trends and create prevention resources to address the evolving needs of kids and teens online. *NetSmartz is NCMEC's online safety education program. It provides age-appropriate videos and activities to help teach children to be safer online with the goal of helping children become more aware of potential online risks and empowering them to help prevent victimization by making safer choices on- and offline. Find out if Netsmartz will be part of your child’s curriculum this year by contacting your school counselor. Every day, we hear horror stories about a child being hurt or abducted by someone they met online. While your school might be prepared, what can you do to keep your children safe online and reinforce the message at home? The first step in keeping your child safe is simply by talking to them. Always keep an open line of communication regarding safety and don’t be afraid to ask questions. In the event they see or hear something they’re not sure about, your child will know that you are a safe space to share with. Ask them about their favorite apps, who they’re chatting with, and what kind of things they discuss. Start this conversation young, as older children may be reluctant to talk about what they fear might get them in trouble. Be sure to let them know that they will not be in trouble for telling the truth, and that your goal is to keep them safe. Conversations about online expectations can’t start too soon. With even kindergarteners being given Chromebooks, this conversation needs to happen early and often. Talk to your children about what’s ok versus not ok to say and do online, including how to avoid being a bully, what to do if someone bullies them, and that they shouldn’t trust everyone they meet online. As they get older, have a frank discussion about posting pictures online or sharing pictures with others, including friends, significant others, or strangers. The concept of “sexting” is introduced very young (sometimes as young as 10 or 11), often by peers or videos on YouTube. “Sexting”, the sending of sexually suggestive texts or images, can get kids into a lot of trouble both at school and legally, and should never be engaged in by minors. Make sure your children are aware that their bodies are private, and that "sexting" is a poor choice that could follow them to school, and maybe even through life if spread throughout the internet. Many kids don’t respond well to punishment, so be sure to let them know that “sexting” is wrong as it’s a violation of their rights and privacy by someone else, not just because they would get in trouble for it. Teach your children that their bodies are sacred, and should not be shared on the interne - no one except themselves needs to know what they look like without clothes on. Affirm that once something is shared on the internet, it can never be taken back. Prepare your children with what to do if they encounter sexually explicit material online. Encourage them to stop, hit the back button, and tell a trusted adult. Once they share their findings, let them know that they are not in trouble and that you are proud of them for telling you what they saw. Then you can work together to make sure they don’t see things like that moving forward by blocking the person who sent it, or proactively restricting certain websites or content. While not sexually explicit material, but just as dangerous, is the posting of threats of violence, hate speech, offensive language, drug or alcohol use, or any other inappropriate or illegal online behavior. Make sure your children know they can talk to you if they see anything like this while online, and what to do should they run across it. If you find your own child is posting things of this nature, ensure they understand how this could damage their reputation among friends, their chance for higher education and future employment, cause potential issues with law enforcement, and that there will be consequences at home. Have a pre-set plan in place to handle anything like this that may come up, including lack of access to technology if appropriate. Lastly, make sure your children understand the concept of grooming and what to look out for in chat rooms or in person. Someone who is offering them gifts, requesting to call them, asking them to reject family and friends to spend time chatting online, expecting them to send pictures, or trying to talk to them about sex, is someone who should not be trusted and should be blocked. Help your children understand that these people don’t actually care about them, but are trying to take advantage of them. For more information on in-person and online grooming, visit [link removed] The above information has been provided by NCMEC via the Netsmartz program. For more tips and information on how to better arm your child and yourself for the time your child spends online, visit the following resources: [link removed] [link removed] [link removed] Learn more about keeping kids safe from abuse, what to do if you suspect abuse has occurred, and how Alliance For Children assists Tarrant County's child abuse victims: READ MORE   Alliance For Children | 3609 Marquita Dr, Fort Worth, TX 76116 Unsubscribe [email protected] Update Profile | Constant Contact Data Notice Sent by [email protected] in collaboration with Try email marketing for free today!
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