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Health Information For Parents
The Internet can be wonderful for kids. They can use it to research school reports, communicate with teachers and other kids, and play interactive games.
But online access also comes with risks, like inappropriate content, cyberbullying, and online predators. Using apps and websites where kids interact, predators may pose as a child or teen looking to make a new friend. They might prod the child to exchange personal information, such as address and phone number, or encourage kids to call them, seeing their phone number via caller ID.
Parents should be aware of what their kids see and hear on the Internet, who they meet, and what they share about themselves. Talk with your kids, use tools to protect them, and keep an eye on their activities.
A federal law, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) helps protect kids younger than 13 when they’re online. It’s designed to keep anyone from getting a child’s personal information without a parent knowing about it and agreeing to it first.
COPPA requires websites to explain their privacy policies and get parental consent before collecting or using a child’s personal information, such as a name, address, phone number, or Social Security number. The law also prohibits a site from requiring a child to provide more personal information than necessary to play a game or enter a contest.
Online tools let you control your kids’ access to adult material and help protect them from Internet predators. Many Internet service providers (ISPs) provide parent-control options. You can also get software that helps block access to sites and restricts personal information from being sent online. Other programs can monitor and track online activity.
More important than blocking objectionable material is teaching your kids safe and responsible online behavior, and keeping an eye on their Internet use.
Basic guidelines to share with your kids for safe online use:
Basic guidelines for parental supervision:
Call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at (800) 843-5678 if you’re aware of the sending, use, or viewing of child pornography online. Contact your local law enforcement agency or the FBI if your child has received child pornography via the Internet.
Watch for warning signs of a child being targeted by an online predator. These can include:
Talk to your kids! Keep an open line of communication and make sure that they feel comfortable turning to you when they have problems online.
As kids get older, it gets a little trickier to monitor their time spent online. They may carry a smartphone with them at all times. They probably want — and need — some privacy. This is healthy and normal, as they’re becoming more independent from their parents. The Internet can provide a safe “virtual” environment for exploring some newfound freedom if precautions are taken.
Talk about the sites and apps teens use and their online experiences. Discuss the dangers of interacting with strangers online and remind them that people online don’t always tell the truth. Explain that passwords are there to protect against things like identity theft. They should never share them with anyone, even a boyfriend, girlfriend, or best friend.
Taking an active role in your kids’ Internet activities helps ensure that they benefit from them without being exposed to the potential dangers.
Before kids or teens hit “enter,” make sure they know the rules when it comes to oversharing, teasing, posting personal info, and other online don’ts.
The virtual world is full of opportunities to interact with people around the world. It’s also a place where nothing is temporary. Here are some tips for safeguarding your online identity.
Cyberbullying is the use of technology to harass, threaten, embarrass or target another person. Here are some suggestions on what to do if online bullying has become part of your child’s life.
Online, just like in the real world, it’s always better to be safe than sorry! Here’s how kids can stay safe on the Internet.
Using technology to bully is a problem that’s on the rise. The good news is awareness of how to prevent cyberbullying is growing even faster. See our tips on what to do.
Whether it’s protecting yourself from hackers or cyberbullies, these tips for teens will help you navigate the digital world safely.
Just like other kinds of bullying, sexual bullying is intended to hurt, offend, or intimidate another person. Find out how to recognize sexual bullying and harassment and what to do.
Not sure how much screen time is appropriate for your big kid? Get advice here.
Sexting could haunt a teen for the rest of his or her life. Here’s what parents need to know.
Some ways for parents to keep track of the media their kids watch, play, and use.
Not sure how much screen time is appropriate for your teen? Get advice here.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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