Each fall when kids go “back to school,” parents and caregivers prepare their kids for homework, school programs, sports, even “trick-or-treating.” It’s also important that families have the same preparedness when using technology. We should encourage all children to enjoy the goodies the Internet provides, while helping them avoid the spookier things that can happen online.
This collection of treats can help your little monsters avoid some of the digital “tricks” that can occur, supporting the notion that being safer online is sweeter for everyone!
Defend their devices & information from online creepers:
- Strengthen your devices’ defenses by installing antivirus and antispyware programs from trusted sources, updating software and apps regularly, leaving your firewall on at all times, and using flash drives cautiously.
- Avoid being tricked into downloading scareware and malware. Be cautious about opening attachments and links, download software from trusted websites, and close pop-ups carefully.
- Safeguard sensitive personal information by saving financial activity for a more secure home network; use GPS features wisely and public Wi-Fi safely, and look for signs that a webpage is secure and legitimate.
- Create strong passwords and phrases, keep them secret, and avoid using the same one on all sites.
Help your goblins learn to use social networks safely:
- Follow the age-usage guidelines set by social networking sites.
- Work with kids to use Settings or Options in online services to manage who can see their profile or tagged photos, how people can search for them and make comments, and how to block people.
- Ask kids to think about who they accept as friends and to reassess periodically.
- Empower kids to promote a positive image online, and be respectful with the comments and images they post.
Say “boo!” to online bullying:
- Stay curious in kids’ lives online by asking them to show you their interests, what games they play, what they post and with whom they are talking online; lead with your own example; watch for signs of online cruelty, and ask kids to report any type of online drama.
- Encourage empathy. Suggest kids put themselves in another’s shoes. With your support, they can stand up for someone being bullied online.
- Promote compassion in the community by advocating for school trainings and kindness campaigns.
Participate in our #SaferIsSweeter Twitter contest for the chance to win a Surface RT! Read the official rules for details.
- Follow us on Twitter and tweet to us the answers to seven daily questions about online safety & security.
- You may answer each question at any time as long as you answer all of them by the end the day on October 31, 2013.
- Your tweets entries must include the hashtag #SaferIsSweeter, corresponding question number (Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4, Q5, Q6, or Q7) so it is clear which you are answering, and be relevant to the discussion topic.