Frequently Asked Questions
Protecting Kids Online
Q: What are the dangers to children online?
A: Research indicates 30% of kids are cyberbullied at sometime before they turn 18, 1 in 25 kids is aggressively pursued by an online predator, online scams are the most reported crimes to the Federal Trade Commission, and an abundance of screen time may be related to childhood obesity, Attention Deficit Disorder, and a disruption in sleep patterns. In spite of these statistics, it is imperative that kids use computers and the iternet to succeed in our world. Teach your children internet safety skills and model safe technology practices.
Q: Do parents need to monitor or limit their children's online activities?
A: Kids need to be introduced to technology at age appropriate levels. None of us were born knowing how to keep ourselves secure online or how to protect our family's computer or personal information. Parents and guardians need to decide how much screen time their kids should have, which sites they are allowed to visit, and if they can use social media to post text and photos. For more information, click here to visit our parental controls section.
Q: What is social networking?
A: Popular social networking sites include Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. You must be at least 13 years of age to set up a profile. Kids use social networking sites to share and post information about themselves and talk online with others. Parents need to know which sites their kids are using and who they communicate with. Parental guidance is required.
TIP: Visit the sites your child is interested in and read the safety information.
Q: Should I ask my child to “friend” me on Facebook?
A: If you are a “friend” you are able to view all of your child’s activity. Kids may arrange their privacy settings so that parents are blocked from seeing posts, friends, photos, etc. Some kids may establish a second profile that you don’t know about. Remind your kids not to "friend" strangers online, post anything that could hurt them, embaress them or get them in trouble, and to set their profiles to private.
Q: What should I do if my child is cyberbullied?
A: Instruct your child to ignore the bully, block the bully from all cell phones and social media accounts, and save any harassing, intimidating, or bullying messages. Talk with your child to see if they feel safe enough to report to a trusted teacher or school administrator about the issue. Can you contact the parents of the bully? If the situation has escalated beyond the school's capacity to manage, contact law enforcement.
Q. What are privacy settings on social media?
A. Privacy settings give you the power to decide what and how much you share. Click on “Settings” on the social networking site to learn how to control your information, if you can't find it, Google how to enact privacy settings. Remind your kids that there is NO real privacy online, we all know of celebrities, politicians, and friends who have had their personal information made available for the world to see.
Child Pornography, Sexting, and Sexual Abuse
Q: What is sexting and how is it realted to child porniography and sex abuse?
A: Sexting is generally the taking of a nude or semi-nude photo with a cell phone or smartphone. If the person in the photograph is under 18, it is usally illegal and considered child pornography. Child pornography is defined as “any visual depiction of a minor involved in sexually explicit conduct, not necessarily sexual activity.” If you see child pornography on or offline or hear about people who are viewing or producing it, TAKE ACTION! Research shows that people who view child pornography also sexually abuse children. Report your suspicions. Contact the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, a national law enforcement clearinghouse, call your local police, call 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) or click on this link: 10-3
Q: Are there any registered sexual offenders in my neighborhood?
A: The Megan’s Law website shows where registered sexual offenders live.