Digital Summer Safety for Kids: 3 tips to consider

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July 18, 2016 by HCDE-Texas

shutterstock_65941000While we remember to put sunscreen on our kids for skin protection from the blazing days of summer, we also need to remember computer screen protection as our children spend their free time on computers. Many parents work during the summer and kids stay at home in front of screens, so this is a great time to remember digital safety tips for kids.

According to Pew Internet Research (www.pewinternet.org) 92 percent of teens report going online daily.  There are three tips parents should consider and discuss with their kids as they work to keep them safe online this summer.

  1. Encourage Responsible Sharing
    Summer camp and family vacations often result in new social media connections for students.  This is a great time for kids to check their privacy settings on all of their social media accounts.  Remind kids to make sure their social media posts and profiles do not reveal too much personal information, such as their full name and location.
  2. Post Positively
    Kids will have less face-to-face time and more digital communication time with their friends during the summer.  This is a great opportunity to remind them to keep the comments and posts positive.  Posting positives can be contagious and lead to others posting positively, so encourage kids to take the lead and be positive online.  Remind kids that posting wild and crazy pics from summer parties may be funny now, but it could cost them future opportunities if seen by admissions counselors and hiring managers.
  1. Know the Law
    There are rules in place to help you keep kids safe online.  Knowing those laws and making sure that the sites frequented by the kids will help ensure their safety online.  The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) was put in place to protect the personal information of children under age 13.  Websites are required to notify parents directly and get their approval before they collect, use or disclose a child’s personal information.  More information and be found at COPPA.  It is always a good idea to review the privacy policy of the websites and apps that kids frequent.

So when you are putting on the bike helmet and lathering in sunscreen to keep kids safe, remember to also check on their online safety.  Online activity can be easy to ignore or brush off, but it could affect kids’ safety, future and reputation and should be monitored carefully.

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About the Blogger:

Lynnice Hockaday is a technology analyst for the Cirrus Learn Project at Harris County Department of Education. For the past 20 years, Lynnice has been an educator, curriculum specialist, technology coach and online instructor, and loves helping students and teachers reach outside the classroom walls by engaging and collaborating worldwide through online learning. Lynnice stays very busy outside of work with three active kids and enjoys hiking and biking in her spare time.

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