This can happen to any kid

Internet safety 101

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1. Keeping your computers in an open area in your home is very important. This way you are able to see what your kids are doing on the computer without having to wonder when they are behind closed doors in their bedroom.  A kitchen nook area is a great place for kids to use the computer, this way you can go about cooking or doing other things in the home and still be able to see what they are doing online.

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2. The internet is constantly changing, so it’s important to keep up with the changes because your kids certainly are. Each new generation of kids seem to be more and more technologically advanced. In order to know what your kids are dealing with, you must have an idea of how to work the internet yourself, navigate popular apps, find "hidden files" on their phones & computer & understand text lingo. 

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3.  Teach kids to stay away from links that may pop-up. Even with regular sites like Amazon.com, Facebook, and YouTube, a kid can easily click on links that take them somewhere you may not want them to go. A recent study showed that kids are only 3 clicks away from inappropriate content on YouTube. Keep adult apps off the devices your children use. Even if they usually just play the games, they may sometime wander into the wrong apps when you aren’t watching.

Have a family plan of action

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Parents, we talk to our kids about drugs and drunk driving, and now it’s time to have regular and frank conversations about the dangers of the internet. They need to know about online predators, grooming, sex trafficking and sexting. As a family, create a safety plan on what to do in a bad internet situation. 


Here are some ideas:

  • Have them immediately shut down their device and come talk to you if they see something that makes them uncomfortable or feel bad
  • Know your kids passwords and accounts.  It’s not prying or babying them. It’s helping them.
  • Limit their internet use (and yours). 
  • Have a scheduled time that they can use it when you are around and aware.
  • Keep their devices for them. 
  • When it’s not their “internet time” parents should keep track of the device and put it safely away. Out of sight, out of mind.
  • Install safety software and apps on your computers and devices. 

Make sure your kids know they can talk with you about anything

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Keep the conversations going with your kids. Stay involved in their lives. Be there for them. Have fun with them and get them talking. Let them know you are always there for them and ready to help. Having open communication with your children will be vital if/when an internet danger comes along.

Sadly there are people out there that want to exploit our kids for their personal gain. It does not just happen "somewhere else", it happens here in the United States, in your state, maybe even your town. You never know who is being groomed until it often is too late. That's why it is so important to communicate with your kids daily about online safety. Talk about dangers that are out there & how to be personally aware. Develop a plan of action with your kids on how to handle unwanted "friend" requests, texts  sexts or advances. Make sure you tell your kids that you love them & want them to be safe. It's just like learning to drive a car, there are rules to be followed to keep everyone safe. 

Safety tips for kids

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  • Know your name, address, and phone number(s)
  • Know your parents/guardians cell numbers
  • Know where your parents/guardian work
  • Learn how and when to call 911
  • If you are scared of someone, RUN to safety
  • Never give directions to an adult. This may be a ploy to get you close to their car to abduct you
  • It’s okay to be RUDE to a grown-up if you feel you are unsafe
  •  Learn the difference between an “OKAY” secret and a “NOT OKAY” secret
  • Don’t let anyone on the phone or at the door know that you are home alone
  • If you ever get lost in a mall, ask the closest store clerk for help and then stay where you are until you are found
  • Avoid shortcuts when you are walking from one place to another, stay in public
  • If you are ever “grabbed" by someone, scream, kick, bite and FIGHT as hard as you can to get away! 
  • NEVER go with a stranger or adult you know even if they tell you your parents/guardians told them to come get you unless they use the family code
  • Tell your parents/guardians or a trusted adult if someone is asking you to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable
  • Listen to your "gut". Those knots and twists in the tummy are telling you something doesn't seem right
  • Always ask your parents/guardians for permission before getting on the Internet
  • Never talk to people online without your parents/guardians permission, including online kid games
  • Always tell your parents/guardians if someone is scaring, threatening or intimidating you online or in person
  • Tell you parents/guardians or a trusted adult if a person makes you feel uncomfortable 
  • Never accept candy or gifts from a stranger
  • Say "NO" to anyone that tries to make you do something you do not want to do

Safety tips for parents/guardians

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  • Establish trust & open communication with your kids
  • Make sure you always have a current photo of your kids on your phone
  • Tell them you love them every day
  • Build up your kids self-worth
  • Tell your kids the things you like about them
  • Teach your kids to never accept candy or gifts from a stranger
  • Avoid dressing your kids in clothes with their names on it
  • Do not get backpacks or items with their names on them
  • Make sure your kids medical & dental records are up-to-date
  • Don't focus on the wrong things your kids may do
  • Teach your kids how to listen to their "gut"
  • Never leave kids unattended in a car, stroller or store, even for just a minute
  • When shopping with little kids, never let go of the shopping cart or stroller
  • Make sure you know how to find & contact your kids at all times.
  • Know who your kids friend are & how to contact them
  • Have a “Call List” of emergency contacts and make sure your kids know the numbers for who to call if they can’t reach you
  • Develop a family code that will be used in the event of an emergency & another person has to pick them up from school
  •  Take an active role in your children’s activities & get to know who the instructors are
  •  Take the time to listen intently to your kids when they tell you they had a bad dream. There could be a reason
  •  Trust your instincts
  • Question and monitor anyone who takes an unusual interest in your kids
  • Teach your kids that they can be rude to an adult if they feel threatened in any way
  • Teach kids the difference between an “OKAY” secret and a “NOT OKAY” secret
  •  Have your kids practice their most annoying scream just in case they need to use it someday
  • Log onto Family Watch Dog and register to be notified if sex offenders move into your neighborhood
  • Talk to your kids about the type of people to stay away from and why
  •  Keep your family computers in a central location that is easily monitored and avoid letting your kids have internet access in unsupervised areas (i.e. computers in their bedrooms, etc.).
  • Teach your kids to say "NO" to anyone that tries to make them do something they do not want to do
  • For younger kids makes sure they know the houses they can go to if they need help or a safe place to go
  • Try to remember daily what your kid was wearing

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Sources: shared from Childwatch via Allprodad.com & enough.org