Monday, September 26, 2011

Keep your kids safe online

The Oregon Department of Justice, Office of Attorney General, John Kroger want parents to stay proactive in keeping their children safe online.  Drawing attention to the many advancements technology has brought to the classroom  by enriching the educational experience has also inadvertently, introduced dangers that were non existent just a few short years ago.

Most parents are aware of the dangers associated with social networking sites as a means for child predators to find victims, but unfortunately, it is not the only danger. There has been a lot of attention in the media lately focusing on the rise of cyber-bullying. Often peer-to-peer instigated.  There are tools parents can use to help negate this destructive, abusive and dangerous use of social media.

Get wise: Parents should review their child's privacy settings on social networks and Web sites commonly frequented and used; and limit who can view the child's profile. Make sure personal information is limited if at all, such as phone numbers, email addresses and where they live and go to school. Help kids understand what information is okay to share and what is not.  A lot of information about a person can be inferred by what a person posts despite the strictest privacy settings.

Keep the computer out in the open:  By having computers used out in the open can help discourage children from visiting unapproved and inappropriate Web sites.

Open Communication:  It may feel like you are talking to a wall when speaking with your children, but kids really do listen.  Let them know you accept them and are always there for them.  It is important to stay cool even under the most uncomfortable subject matter. Children are more willing to hear what a parent thinks if the parent stays approachable.

For more information on how to keep your kids safe online, please see OnGuardOnline.gov. DOJ also offers free presentations on internet safety.

If you are a member of your local PTA or another school or community group and would like to learn more about this opportunity, please contact attorneygeneral@doj.state.or.us. Or your state's Department of Justice.







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