Advice for Parents regarding Online Safety.

Help your kids stay safe whilst online!

1. Education and trust.
Talk with young people about what is appropriate and what’s not. Explain what privacy is and configure with them the privacy and security settings for the social networks they use. Let them decide in the end, but they must make educated decisions.

2. Explain to them the risks of being online.
Giving personal information can have direct and indirect consequences which can’t be seen at the first glance. Having contacts with complete strangers gives them direct access to the information normally available to close friends

3. Talk with their children about what cyberbullying is and how to react to it.
Cyberbullying starts at the beginning as a joke which gets carried away and amplified exponentially without any chance of getting back in control of the situation.

4. Use parental controls – Safe browsing.
These filters are not for controlling what the youth do, it is more to protect them from seeing information which taken out of context can confuse them. For example, violence in a game is one thing, doing the same in the real world can have dramatic consequences.

5. Keep an eye to whom the children are connecting.
Young people, especially children, are very trustful and open to everyone. This is why it is important to monitor who they are getting in contact with. Social networks tend to help them to get more “friends”, even if they don’t know them in real life.

6. Keep an eye on what the children are posting.
In order to be accepted by their peers, children may post too much and especially those statuses and pictures which are the most compromising. There is software which integrates seamlessly with the social networks of your choice and permits configuration of alerts when certain words or picture types get posted.

7. Be their “friend” or “follower”.
As strange as may seem, it is much easier to follow their activities if you act as any other friend or follower does. This doesn’t allow you to see their private messages.

8. The Internet never forgets.
Writing something online is like sending a letter on papers. You can’t get it back. Moreover, the Internet saves the data in so many places that it is impossible to take something back.

9. Take your time to understand and experience yourself with the social media channels they use. Educate yourself in order to be able to educate others.
Just having the account only to spy on your children doesn’t help you understand how things work in the social networks. You need to actively use it and figure out what is secure and what not and especially, how to secure it. Blogs, magazines, podcasts can help you understand in a simple to understand language what is important and what not.

10. Constantly review with your children their activities.
Social networks evolve fast and so does the threat landscape. You and your children need to constantly review what risks impose the new developments in the network.

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