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9 Cyber Safety Tips from Boys & Girls Clubs of America

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I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Boys & Girls Clubs of America. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

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Like most families, our house is filled with technology.  Teaching our children to be safe and responsible while using technology has been an important goal of our parenting.  As a mom of 3 and a parent educator, I know that you can’t just limit access to technology or cross your fingers and hope everything will turn out alright. I’m a big believer that knowledge is power and leads to good choices.  These 9 Cyber Safety Tips will help you get the conversation about cyber safety started in your family.

June is Internet Safety Awareness Month and the perfect time to review your family’s cyber use rules and talk with your children to educate and encourage responsible behavior. You can take advantage of information, quizzes and resources on the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) Cyber Safe Futures website to learn more.

Cyber Safety Tips

34 % of teens report having experienced cyberbullying.  Prepare before there’s ever a situation of cyberbullying by talking with your child about it. You can use a story in the news as an opening to talk about cyberbulling.  Let your child know that he or she can talk to you or a trusted adult if anything makes him or her feel uncomfortable. Watch your child for signs of cyberbullying: attitude change towards technology, attitude towards school or friends change.

Teach your child to be respectful online. Model good online behavior and talk about what is and isn’t respectful online behavior.  Teach your child not to say anything online that you wouldn’t say in person.  Also, make sure your child understands that what is said online can easily be misunderstood.

Learn about social networks yourself. Be comfortable with social networks yourself so that you can help your child navigate and understand them.  My oldest “baby” will tell you that the original reason I got a Facebook account was to “parent stalk” her (and it’s true). 

Teach the importance of privacy settings on social media.  Talk with your child about privacy settings for their social media accounts. Establish your family’s guidelines about privacy settings. Together with your child periodically check their privacy settings. Without scaring your child, explain your family’s standards and why maintaining privacy is important for online safety.

Explain the importance of only friending people they know on social media. Without scaring your child, explain why it’s important that they don’t friend people they don’t personally know online.  Discuss how to handle when others, both known and unknown, friend them.  This isn’t a one-time discussion, be sure to periodically talk about this issue with your child. 

Discuss online privacy with your child. Explain your family’s limits on sharing personal information online. Talk about why maintaining online privacy is important.

Teach your child cell phone etiquette.  Discuss limits on use and appropriate cell phone behavior.  Let your child know that you will periodically monitor cell phone use.  Be sure to model appropriate and safe cell phone use yourself.

Set appropriate limits on cell phone use.  Just because your child has a cell phone does not mean that he or she is old enough or responsible enough for unlimited use of it.  Remember you are the parent and you set the boundaries and limits.  It’s wise to let your child slowly earn cell phone privileges. Periodically discuss your family guidelines and responsible use with your child to reinforce them and address changing use and guidelines.

As a parent, cyber safety is an ongoing issue.  Cyber safety issues are constantly changing. As a parent you need to keep learning about those changes and risks. You also need to work to keep the lines of communication open with your child.  Cyber safety is not a one-and-done issue, it’s an ongoing and developing issue that you need to be working on with your child.

You can keep up-to-date on cyber safety issues at the Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Cyber Safe Futures website. There you can submit your questions to the BGCA Cyber Ambassadors, a panel of Boys & Girls Club teens from around the world, to get a teen’s perspective. You can ask questions about topics regarding cyberbulling, social networking, online privacy, mobile smarts and other cyber-related issues. Once you’ve entered your question, you’ll be given the chance to enter the Cyber Safe Futures Giveaway. You can also learn more by following the Boys & Girls Clubs of America on Facebook and Twitter.

stack of several  cell phones and tablets  next to laptop

What do you do in your family to share cyber safety tips with your children? Please join the Boys & Girls Clubs of America in their third annual Cyber Safe Futures campaign sharing the importance of cyber safety.  

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4 Comments

  1. We’ve been pretty lucky in that we haven’t had any real cyber issues. But then again, my kids are grown up and moved out now.

    I am normally close by when my granddaughter is online. She’ll ask me if a site is appropriate for her before she clicks the link. She is still pretty young. I think I have a bit more time before any of the other issues begin to pop up. So for now adult supervision is our main safety measure.

  2. These are all really good tips for parents to talk to their kids about. I have an 83 year old Mom who is not internet savvy, these are good tips for me to talk to her about also. I am glad to find out that Boys & Girls clubs are involved in this too.

  3. Thank you for the great tips! I agree that we can never be too careful when it comes to protecting our children online, but these tips are also a great reminder for things parents (and non-parents) can do to protect their information and privacy as well.

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