How to keep kids safe online during the summer

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Now that summer has arrived, children will have more time indoors which means they’ll have more time to spend online.

The internet offers a world of opportunities.

For children especially, these ways of socializing and communicating can be fulfilling, and yet, they come with risks. It is important to talk with your children about the pitfalls that can come from being online, such as imposters, their everlasting image, and protecting their identity.

In an effort to help parents protect their children online, Better Business Bureau serving Central East Texas offers tips to avoid the risks that children are most likely to encounter.

A survey conducted by the National Cyber Security Alliance revealed that 74% of adults admit not knowing about their children’s online behavior, and seven in ten young people are victims of cyber bullying.

But 46 percent of youth say they would change their online behavior if their parents were paying attention, according to the study.

It is vital that parents make it a practice to become familiar with what their children are up to when they are using their digital devices.

Apps: Know which ones your kids are using. Be sure they have come from reputable app stores and examine them to see what their privacy disclosures and settings are. If they share your child’s location with friends and family, be sure that only the right people have access to that location information.

Games: Check out the games your children are playing. Look up their ratings and reviews to verify that they are appropriate for children. Play the games with your children to better understand them. When a game played online allows chat with other players, be sure your kids are careful about the information they disclose.

Social Media: Know what social media channels your children are using, and what information they are sharing on their profiles. Be sure to set family rules for how these profiles can be used, and ask your children to provide you with their passwords for the sites.

Instant Messaging/Chat Features: Talking with your kids about knowing who they’re talking with online is an important conversation to have. Make it clear that if they don’t know them in real life, they don’t need to chat with them online.

Photo Sharing: Photo sharing sites are great for keeping in touch with family and friends who may not live close by, but make sure your kids know what their privacy settings should be, and what’s appropriate to share.

For more information on how to talk with your children about online safety, visit bbbkidsafe.com. There are downloadable e-books for parents and kids, as well as further information on in person presentations. For more tips on how to be a savvy consumer, go to bbb.org.

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