Safeguarding Your Family
Take Charge! of your family's digital life by ensuring that your devices, services, practices and other tools are optimized for safety at all times.
Coping with Violence
Talking To Your Kids About the News: Parent Tip -- In today’s 24/7 news environment, kids get exposed to current events that aren't always age-appropriate. Find ways to help kids deal with distressing current events.
Violence in Media Really Matters -- All kids love cartoons. But they can’t always differentiate between what they see on screen and how they should act. Get tips to help your kids enjoy cartoon fun without imitating cartoon violence.
The Impact of TV Violence -- Scores of studies demonstrate the negative impact that TV violence can have on kids and families, but what can you do to tune out the bad stuff and help your kids cope? Check out these tips and advice from Common Sense Media.
Take Charge! of the Internet
The Internet has drastically changed the way that children interact with the world. In addition to offering a fascinating, new way to connect with the world and gain knowledge, the Internet also introduces new risks to children such as cyberbullying, online predators, exposure to inappropriate material and the potential to reveal too much personal information.
Parents and trusted adults can help make the Internet a safer place for their families by learning to recognize the warning signs of these risks and lessening potential negative impacts. It is important for parents to understand what their children are experiencing on and offline, and to learn how to use new forms of online communication, such as social networking, blogging, webcams and instant messaging to be able to teach their children to use them safely. Additionally, children whose parents and guardians regularly talk to them about personal safety are more likely to exhibit responsible online behavior on their own.
- Tips for safe Internet use:
- Keep the computer in a high-traffic area of your home.
- Know who is connecting with your children online and set rules for social networking, instant messaging, e-mailing, online gaming, and using webcams.
- Surf the Internet with your children and let them show you what they like to do online.
- Remember that Internet technology can be mobile, and make sure to monitor cell phones, gaming devices, and laptops.
- Continually dialogue with your children about online safety.
This is a problem kids continue to face online, but there are ways to help prevent it and help those who have dealt with the problem.
Check out Stacey’s story >>
Help kids learn how to behave responsibly online.
Watch the video >>
Take Charge! of Gaming
Online games are not only a form of entertainment for children, but also an outlet for them to exercise important life skills, such as using their imaginations and employing problem-solving strategies to overcome obstacles. With the presence of instant chat features, forums and voice-enabled interactions, children are able to communicate and collaborate with other gamers all over the world. Unfortunately, these features also put children at risk online.
Many online games allow users to communicate anonymously, which certain users may take advantage of to target children. Online gaming exposes children to the risk of predators, cyberbullies and online scam artists, who may send inappropriate content online or use the communication functions to arrange an in-person meeting. Several game consoles offer Internet access and it is important to be aware of their communications features.
Tips for safe gaming:
- Tell your child never to give out personal information while gaming or agree to meet anyone outside of the game
- Know which safety features are available on the gaming equipment that your child uses—a headset may have voice-masking features, for example.
- Keep gaming consoles in an easy-to-supervise location and be aware of other places where your child may be accessing games.
- Teach your child not to respond to anyone who is being rude or bullying while playing the game.
Take Charge! of Your Wireless Phones
Cell phones not only provide children with the ability to send and receive messages, e-mails, texts and instant messages from other phones, but also the ability to access the Internet. Parents should consider cell phones an extension of the Internet and employ the same safeguards. It is important to open the lines of communication about online material with children by discussing what content they are allowed to access and making sure they are comfortable coming to a parent or trusted adult to talk about inappropriate content sent to them online.
Tips for safe cell phone use:
- Remind your child that texting is viral—anything sent in a text can be easily forwarded and shared.
- When shopping for a cell phone for your child, research the security settings that are available.
- Talk to your child about the possible consequences of sending sexually explicit or provocative images or text messages.
- Teach your child never to reveal cell phone numbers or passwords online.
- Encourage your children to come to you or another trusted adult if he or she encounters inappropriate material.