Internet Safety

Child safety (little ones and teenagers) is important to me (and you). It is something I hold very near to my heart.  I will try to keep it light(-:  Please share some of these tips with your family and friends.  You might save a life and a fragile soul.  After you read, I encourage you to share your safety tips.

 More than 550 victims of child sexual abuse and exploitation have been identified by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents in the first eight months of fiscal year 2014.  These are a few tips they have shared with us:

TIPS FOR PARENTS:

  • Talk to children about Internet predators and whether they have ever been approached online. Visit Netsmartz.org for conversation starters on a variety of topics.
  • Keep the computer in a common area of the house, but don’t forget that online technology is also available on cell phones, laptops, tablets and gaming devices.
  • Set limits for what sites can be visited and have your children show you what sites they are frequently visiting.
  • Recognize signs of victimization and grooming. If your child has become withdrawn and isolated from friends and family, you find inappropriate material on the computer or mobile device, or if your child is communicating or receiving money or gifts from an unknown person.
  • Ask them to tell you if anything makes them feel scared, confused or uncomfortable. Let them know that online sexual exploitation of children is a crime and that it should be reported to law enforcement.
  • Encourage them to report cyber bulling, not just when it happens to them but when they see others being bullied as well.

TIPS FOR KIDS:

  1. Never share pictures of yourself online that you wouldn’t want seen by your family, teachers or a total stranger.
  2. Don’t respond to offensive content and don’t forward images or info that might hurt or embarrass someone.
  3. Don’t accept friend requests from strangers. Change your passwords regularly so strangers can’t find you.
  4. Set user profile to private so only real friends can get access. Know who you’re chatting with – a “friend” is not always a friend.
  5. Don’t share personal information online like your full name, school, address or phone number, or user passwords.
  6. Remember that anything posted online lives on forever and can be shared with anyone anywhere in the world.
  7. Stop the harassment. Treat people online as you would in person and don’t be mean or rude. Report cyber bullying to a trusted adult.
  8. Tell an adult if someone makes you feel uncomfortable by their actions or words. If you suspect online “stalking,” sexual exploitation, or other suspicious behavior, report it to law enforcement.
  9. Don’t meet up in person with anyone you met online.
  10. Check your privacy settings on social media sites frequently, as they can reset due to site updates.

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