1. Talk with your kids about Internet safety.
Talk to your kids regularly about what they should (and should not) do online. It’s free, and it makes a big difference! Research shows that kids whose parents talk to them about Internet safety are less likely to engage in risky behavior while online, and are more likely to exhibit responsible online behavior on their own. Nearly half of teens admit hiding online behavior from parents, and your kids also need to know they won't get in trouble if they tell you or another trusted adult if anything bad, mean or scary happens.
2. Know which devices in your home have Internet access.
Internet use is doubling every two years, and today the average household has more than six devices connected to the Internet. This includes tablets, smartphones, gaming systems, laptops and desktop computers. If you aren’t aware a device has Internet access, you can’t restrict or monitor it. Take inventory of all the electronic devices in your home, then Take Charge! of all the Internet access points available to your children.
3. Use parental controls on all mobile devices.
Take advantage of the parental control features included in the security software available through your Internet Service Provider, such as the free Cox Security Suite Powered by McAfee®. Basic parental control features can also be found in the Settings section of most mobile devices. Remind your kids that the same rules that apply to all Internet-enabled devices, whenever and wherever they use them.
4. Tell your kids not to respond to people they've never met.
“Don’t talk to strangers” is an important rule that also applies online. According to a survey from Cox and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, 42 percent of tweens (10- to 13-year olds) have received messages from people they've never met. Ninety two percent of teens are social network users, and parents can help minimize exposure to strangers by setting the appropriate privacy settings for their social media accounts.
5. Make sure your kids visit age-appropriate sites.
When you hear your kids talk about a new website or social network, check it out. If you approve the site, then sit with them as they visit the site to see what they do or learn. The Internet can be a rich resource to promote learning, creativity and deepen your kids' interests.
6. Use password protection.
Enable strong passwords on all Internet-enabled devices. If your child has to come to you enter the password, you'll always be aware of when they are using the device.
7. Have rules about time and place for using mobile devices.
Set limits on the amount of time your kids spend online using mobile devices and where they can use them. Don't let them 'instant message' if you don't have monitoring software on the mobile device. Restrict time and sites for online gaming.
8. Agree on downloads.
Have the final say. Don't share passwords that will give kids the ability to download music, apps, games, etc. to any device without your approval first. If they need to download something, you should always be involved.
9. Teach kids what it means to “overshare” personal information.
Talk to your children about the type of information that is not appropriate to share online, such as their age and location. This includes making sure location-based settings are turned off, so children don’t unintentionally disclose their location to others. Personal oversharing can also include selfies and videos that kids make take and share. Remind them that anything they send to one friend may be shared with others.
10. Stay involved.
Parents are the role models for safe and smart use. Enjoy the good stuff together by joining social networks that your kids are involved in, playing games together, sharing favorite apps and helpful web sites.
Cyberbullying is a problem kids continue to face offline and online. In fact, our recent survey data shows there has been a significant increase in online bullying.
Here are five statistics from a recent survey conducted by Cox Communications in partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that reveal why it’s so important for parents to proactively address cyberbullying:
Learn more about how you and your child can combat cyberbullying through these educational videos and the Anti-bullying Pledge, and learn more about teens and tween online through by reading the complete results from our most recent Internet Safety Survey.
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 interactive features may also put children at risk.
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.
You can monitor your family's total Internet use by checking your Data Usage Meter. The Data Usage Meter is available to all Cox High Speed Internet customers and provides an easy way to check total monthly household data usage at any time. The Data Usage Meter is updated once per day to reflect usage from the previous day.
Monthly data usage is the amount of data, such as e-mail, images, movies, photos, videos, and other files that customers send, receive, download or upload each month. Cox measures total data usage and does not monitor specific customer activities to determine data usage. But you can use the meter as an early warning sign that someone might be accessing your WiFi connection or computer without your knowledge. For example:
A change in data use is a good opportunity to chat with your kids about how they're using the Internet. Use the data use meter and parental control features to take charge of your family's Internet use. You can also use our data use calculator to see how much data is used by certain activities, such as watching streaming video or downloading music. This is another opportunity to talk to your kids about how much time and what activities they are doing online.