We believe Internet safety starts at home with parents taking a proactive stance on their children’s use of their cellphones, computers, and laptops.
While it is also a shared responsibility between the public, the Internet industry, and the legal community, parents remain the first line of defense in protecting their children against Internet safety dangers. Unfortunately, parents, educators and other caring adults are ill-equipped, uninformed and often overwhelmed when it comes to Internet safety issues, and they need credible outside help. We’ve listed a few resources in the tabs below and compiled a list of internet safety tips and how to report Internet crimes. Don’t be afraid to seek support and guidance on how to install parental guidelines and rules.
Internet Safety Tips for Children and Teens
- Any child or teen can become the victim of an Internet predator. Predators do not discriminate based on gender, ethnicity, education, socioeconomic status, income, or religion. It can happen. It does happen. It is happening.
- Teach your child or teen to never share private or identifying information, such as his or her name, address, school, etc., with a person online that is not known or trusted in real life. A predator can use this information to groom and/or locate your child or teen.
- Strengthen the privacy settings on all social networking sites and ensure that these settings remain unchanged after updates. Social networking sites often publish posts as “public” based on the default settings.
- Disable Geotagging on all mobile devices, as it has the ability to automatically pinpoint and disclose your child’s or teen’s location. This option can usually be found under “Settings” on most devices. You can also contact your service provider or device manufacturer.
- Discuss the dangers of “checking in.” Various applications allow your child or teen to share his or her exact current location on social media sites.
- Remind your child or teen to choose an online handle, username, or screen name carefully. Much can be inferred from how your child or teen represents himself or herself online, which can prompt a predator’s initial contact.
- Monitor your child’s or teen’s activity on the computer and on all mobile devices. This includes desktops, laptops, tablet computers, cell phones, and all handheld and video game devices with online connectivity. There are numerous parental monitoring options available online or through your service provider. Please, do not feel that you are “spying” on your child or teen. You are the parent. This is your responsibility.
- Know the passwords on all devices used by your child or teen. Check them regularly.
- If you suspect your child or teen is being cyberbullied: be supportive, get the facts, and if necessary, contact the school or law enforcement. Conversely, teach your child or teen that there are negative consequences for those who cyberbully.
- Many children and teens engage in sexting. This is the sharing of explicit texts/photos between phones or other devices. Sending and/or receiving nude pictures of minors is considered child pornography. As a result, there may be both emotional and legal consequences for both you and your child or teen.
- Educate yourself on the mobile applications that your child or teen is using. Ask for an explanation and a demonstration.
- Maintain loving, open, and respectful lines of communication with your child or teen while setting enforceable rules for online safety. Assure your child or teen that he or she can always come to you for help in an uncomfortable or potentially dangerous situation.
On Social Media.
Most social media outlets have made it easy to report cyber harassment or harassing content or images. Check their reporting policies and act quickly.
If you have a Facebook account and want to report someone that’s pretending to be you or someone you know:
- Go to the profile of the impersonating account. …
- Click on the cover photo and select Report.
- Follow the on-screen instructions for impersonation to file a report.
As a policy, Twitter does not mediate content or intervene in disputes between users. However, targeted abuse or harassment may constitute a violation of the Twitter Rules and Terms of Service. If you are a victim of targeted abuse or harassment, you can read more about how to deal with your issue here.
Cyber Tip Line
TO REPORT CHILD PORNOGRAPHY, OBSCENITY, OR TO REPORT A CYBERCRIME: www.cybertipline.com
Or call 1-800-THE-LOST (provided by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children). The congressionally mandated CyberTipline is a reporting mechanism for cases of child sexual exploitation including child pornography, online enticement of children for sex acts, molestation of children outside the family, sex tourism of children, child victims of prostitution, and unsolicited obscene material sent to a child. Reports may be made 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.
The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program
A national network of 61 coordinated task forces representing over 4,500 federal, state, and local law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies. These agencies are continually engaged in proactive and reactive investigations and prosecutions of persons involved in child abuse and exploitation involving the Internet.
TO SEE IF THERE ARE SEXUAL OFFENDERS LIVING IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD, GO TO familywatchdog.us. Family Watchdog enables site visitors to use its free service to locate registered sex offenders in their area. Simply enter an address and it will provide a map of any sex offenders within the vicinity. Enough Is Enough®? recommends that parents check the sex offender registry in their neighborhood, near their child’s school, as well as other areas frequented by the child.
The AMBER Alert program is a voluntary partnership between law enforcement agencies, broadcasters, transportation agencies, and the wireless industry to activate an urgent bulletin in the most serious child-abduction cases. The goal of an AMBER Alert is to instantly galvanize the entire community to assist in the search for and the safe recovery of the child. www.amberalert.gov
The National Children’s Advocacy Center (NCAC) provides training, prevention, intervention and treatment services to fight child abuse and neglect. For more information, go to www.nationalcac.org.