| Sheriff Jay Koon |

While the need to stay home increases, children and teens have access to electronics and the internet more than ever before.

That means they have more access to the possible dangers of the World Wide Web.

Do you know who or what your children are viewing? Hearing? Talking to? With dangers lurking around the corners of the web—from child predators to cyber bullies, to scams and hackers—children and adults alike need a refresher on internet safety.

Pew Research reports that 95% of teens have access to a smartphone, while 45% say they are online almost constantly.

Parents:

  • Know what every app is and what it does on your child’s device. Set boundaries and parental controls with what they can download and access.
  • Teach your teens what cyber bullying is and who to contact if they suspect it is happening.
  • Encourage your children to never give out personal information online—in emails, in apps, to strangers. And to never share their passwords with friends.
  • Talk about the risks associated with meeting people from online in person.
  • If you allow your children to use social media, check the privacy settings. What information is your child giving about themselves to the world?
  • Remind your children that what is said online, stays online. The internet is forever.
  • Tell your children to never open emails or click on links that come from an unknown source or seem fishy. It’s important for children to know that websites claiming to give away freebies are usually too good to be true.
  • If you suspect you or your child have been victims of a cybercrime, contact your local law enforcement department and file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.

The internet is a wonderful resource and brings a lot of quality information and opportunities to our lives. As parents, we need to take preventative steps to ensure our children are safeguarded from the potential dangers of the online world.