The Internet is used multiple times a day by almost every adult and child in America today. Children use the Internet at school for learning and at home for fun. However, there are many dangers lurking for children who use the Internet.
Safer Internet Day is today, Feb. 7, and was created to help adults make Internet usage safer for children.
"Our Real Life Choices Community Educators facilitate conversations with students regarding internet safety in every school we visit. An overwhelming number of students report negative interactions, including inappropriate sexual advances, from strangers through social media,” said RLC Director, Jennifer Kennedy.
Some of the main ways parents can help their children are by keeping an open dialogue, educating children about safe Internet use, and acting as a good digital role model.
Children should be comfortable talking to their parents about anything they see or do online. By asking children about what they do on the Internet, the dialogue stays open and is continuous.
Teaching children about where and how to use the Internet is key. Household rules should be set up like not chatting with strangers, not sharing personal information, and only using devices in common areas. Depending on the age, talking about why doing those things can protect them will help them understand the importance of the rules.
Finally, use your devices the way you want your children to use devices. Be safe with what you post and share online, too. Be a good role model for when and where you use your devices.
"Our curriculum, I Decide For Me, teaches internet safety in a fun, impactful way, but partnerships between students and parents are needed at home to ensure the safety of our children,” Kennedy said. "There are multiple apps that can be downloaded to look for unsafe interactions through social media. But, our first step must be having open communication with our children at a young age regarding their safety online."
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