Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Let's Keep Our Kids Safe Online

Allow me to interrupt our regularly scheduled postings to take a moment to talk about something very important -- our children's safety. Online safety. I specifically thought this would be a good time to dive into the topic of Internet safety because we're about to be right in the thick of the Holidays (where the eff did the time go?!) and with vacations and schools being out and whatnot... there's no time like the present. Right?

If you're a parent of a child who is old enough to surf the web on his/her own, now's the perfect time to have "The Talk" with them. No, not the sex talk (we'll touch back on that topic again soon. Promise.) But it's a great time to have the "online safety talk." A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to have a phone chat with the folks over at Trend Micro and I'm here to share some great info with you (in a mere moment).

Did you know that 83% of parents claim to be very concerned about what their children are exposed to online, yet only 30% report visiting their child's social media profiles?

Well... now you know!

I'm not saying to stalk their online activity (although that might be a bit fun. At first.) But here are some things we can do (tips brought to us via Trend Micro's eGuide, The Online Protection Talk):

(*Please note: you don't need to be a technology guru to have "The Talk," but you need to have a basic understanding of threat types and terminology.)

  1. Establish a general sense of trust with the kiddies. This is especially important because we don't want them to feel as though we are judging them for sharing feelings or telling the truth. (But... we might judge them, just a little bit. KIDDING!)
  2. Be sure to state that there are more positive and fun things to do online than negative and harmful ones, but that as parents, we still have to tell it like it is. 
  3. Remember that unwanted advances can happen online and in real life and we must be prepared. The kiddies need to understand that inbound threats can happen without provocation or even as a result of totally innocent browsing. So sad, but so true. Be sure to tell them to alert you or a person in charge should this occur. 
  4. Take steps to keep inappropriate content away from your family by setting and enforcing rules. For instance, you can insist that kids use their computers in a common area of the house as well as limit their time on the computer. There are also computer security software programs like Trend Micro TM Titanium TM 2012 that'll allow users to set time limits for specific people. 
  5. Be sure to tell your child to let you know immediately if he/she has ever been a victim or a witness of cyberbullying. This is a serious and potentially dangerous form of online contact that needs not be ignored.
  6. Always tell your child that just as they are not allowed to talk to strangers in real life, they should not open or share unexpected or strange looking emails that arrive in their inbox.
  7. Please, please, puh-lease let the kiddies know that anything (ANYTHING) that they post online can be public information. Like, forever. Like, not only can friends read it three weeks from now, but so can teachers. And three years from now, so can relatives. And 13 years from now, so can potential college admissions offices. #ImJustSaying... 

There are tons of other helpful tips from the Trend Micro eGuide, The Online Protection Talk, so if you're interested, I'd suggest you check the link and read up on it for yourself. And your kid. And your family. 

(You're welcome.)

{Mommy Delicious was not compensated for this post. I just think the topic is important enough and useful enough to all of us. You?}


  1. Great tips. My mom didn't allow us to have laptops. We had one computer and it was in the living room. We couldn't go online unless she was home to monitor us. I intend to the same with my kids.

    We have to really be more active keeping up with our kids.

  2. With the little guy having just turned two..I am not sure I have this concern YET...but it is best to be armed with knowledge for when I do...by his early school years, there will be even MORE social media/online outlets...its crazy.

    Thanks for sharing and putting this to the forefront of my brain.
    Hope you and yours have a wonderful and "delicious" thanksgiving.

  3. these are all great tips. I hadn't thought much about it because of my son's age. That cyberbullying scares the crap out of me!

  4. Great topic...we discussed this a few weeks ago on a talk show here in Belize. Keeping children safe online is vital!!

  5. This are really good tips, Alicia. Although it's early for us now I know that my time is just around the corner with my boys.

  6. I don't have any kiddies but awesome tips!


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