As in any large community, there are dangers our children encounter in cyberspace. But, since our children know more than we do about cyberspace, we worry about how we can teach them to avoid those dangers. Don't panic... those dangers can be managed using the same old warnings we've always used. We just need to translate them into cyberspace terms. The following tips can help!
- Keep computers where you can keep an eye on your child, such as the family room or kitchen.
- Talk regularly with your children about what they are doing online.
- Tell them they have to be careful what they say and to be polite online.
- Tell them that they need to tell you if something bothers them.
- Respect your teen's privacy, but tell your child that you may check their e-mails/texts if you become concerned.
- Set clear rules for online behavior and phone use. Explain the consequences for violating those rules.
- Consider establishing a parent-child internet use contract.
- Be aware of warning signs that might indicate that your son or daughter is being bullied, such as reluctance to use the computer, a change in the child's behavior and mood, or reluctance to go to school.
- Consider installing parental control filtering software and tracking programs; but do not rely solely on these tools.
- Be equally alert to the possibility that your child is bullying others online, even if they don't mean to.
- Document any bullying.
- Contact the school to enlist the help of the school psychologist, the school counselor, the principal, or the resource officer if you discover bullying.
- File a complaint with the web site, internet service provider, or cell phone company.
- Contact the police if the cyberbullying includes threats.
The following sites have many helpful resources!
Tips, videos, teaching resources for parents and kids on cyberbullying, sexting, social networks.
Sponsored by: The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
WiredSafety – Parents
Site dedicated to education and stopping internet predators.
Sponsored by: Wired Kids, Inc. (non-profit headed by Parry Aftab, "a mom, international cyberspace privacy and security lawyer and children's advocate")