June is National Internet Safety Awareness Month. All month, we will share ideas on how to keep the internet a safe resource for you and your family. See other articles about online safety.

This article provides a few general tips to keep your kids safe online, adapted from the article “June is National Internet Safety Awareness Month.”

  • Communicate with your kids about safe uses of the internet and cell phones.
  • Educate yourself on what your kids do online.
  • Develop an open communication style with your children to allow fluid conversations should they need someone to talk to, or if you identify questionable online behavior.
  • Know the latest trends in social media. While social media’s new thing may not be for you, you most likely are not who they are targeting their marketing to.

Don’t think that your kids are too young to talk about internet safety or that they already know how to be safe online. Note the following statistics:

  • Nearly half of 16-17-year-olds report that their parents know “very little” or “nothing” about their online activities.
  • 95% of parents don’t recognize the lingo kids use to let people know that their parents are watching.
  • 76% of parents don’t have rules about what their kids can do on the computer.
  • 81% of parents of online youth say that kids aren’t careful enough when giving out information about themselves online.
  • 65% of parents believe that kids do things online that they wouldn’t want their parents to know about.
  • 4 million children are posting content to the web every day.
  • 15 million youth use instant messaging.
  • 1 out of 17 kids have been harassed, threatened, or bullied.

Sexual solicitations:

  • 20% of children ages 10-17 have been solicited sexually online—that’s 1 out of every 5 kids.
  • 89% of sexual solicitations are made in either chat rooms or instant messages.
  • 75% of youth who received an online sexual solicitation did not tell a parent.

Online contact by strangers:

  • 71% have reported receiving messages from someone they do not know.
  • 45% have been asked for personal info from people they do not know.
  • 14% have actually met face to face with a person they have met on the internet.
  • When asked how they responded the last time they were contacted online by a complete stranger, only 3% of online teens said they told an adult or authority figure.
  • Most kids will not report inappropriate internet contact to their parents because they are afraid of losing internet privileges.
  • 9 out of 10 parents will never know that any inappropriate contact has occurred.

Please sit down and talk with your children about how they use the internet and technology. Help them understand the benefits, but also how to stay safe.

Do you have a helpful tip or experience that you would like to share with other parents? Enter a comment below.

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