June is National Internet Safety Month. With the school year ending, kids will be spending more time online. In fact, according to the National Cyber Security Alliance, children and teens aged 8-18 spend an average of 7 and a half hours each day during the summer with electronic devices – where they may be vulnerable to cyber bulling, cyber predators, and other criminal activity.
To ensure a safe cyber environment, each of us plays a part. Parents can talk to their children and teens about cyber threats, and follow these easy steps:
• Only become friends on social media with people you actually know, and never share details like address, school, or even last name with strangers.
• Conduct Internet searches with specific search terms so that they don’t yield unwanted results.
• Install safety filters that limit what kids can see and do online.
• Before your child visits a new website, check it out yourself.
The Department of Homeland Security’s “Stop. Think. Connect.” Campaign encourages students, parents, and teachers to remain vigilant about their daily Internet use and offers the following advice to parents to keep their children safe online:
Stop: Before letting children use the Internet, set clear guidelines about which sites they are allowed to visit and what they should do if they see something questionable.
Think: Take a moment to be certain the path ahead is clear. Watch for warning signs that may indicate your child is using the Internet unsafely.
Connect: Enjoy the Internet with greater confidence, knowing you’ve taken steps to safeguard yourself and your family.
For more information on “Stop.Think.Connect.” programs and opportunities, visit www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect