Need for Privacy Kids seek privacy at certain ages and parents need to decide how much to give their kids. Monitoring software and keylogging applications are available for parents who need this extra layer of security. Cell phone carriers offer services such as disabling the send/receive function on photographs and settings that allow parents to shut the phone off during school hours or a certain time in the evening. SafetyNet® recommends keeping computers in common areas of the home, not in bedrooms or behind closed doors. If you are an online “friend” of your child you are able to view all of your child’s activity, unless they arrange their privacy settings to block you from seeing posts, friends, photos, etc. Some kids may establish a second profile that you don’t know about. Video chatting sites such as Skype have privacy settings that need to be enacted. Remind your kids that their video chats can be recorded without them knowing it.
TIP: Familiarize yourself with the risks. Review settings on social networking sites with your child and understand how they work.
Posting Personal Information The sharing of personal information such as age, school, favorite activities, etc., provides opportunities for strangers to become friendly with and “groom” your children. Teach your children what to keep off of the Internet: their address, phone number, school name, schedules, birth dates, social security numbers, and other information that could be used to locate them or steal their identities.
Remember that information and images put on the Internet can never be completely deleted or erased.
PROTECT YOUR PASSWORDS If someone knows your password, they can access your information, alter it, or share it. Teach your kids how to create strong and varied passwords and to protect them. Passwords used for social networks, instant message programs, and email accounts should be shared with parents but not friends. Learn more about how to create a strong password.