By Eva Velasquez, president & CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Center
There’s little doubt that parenting is one of the hardest jobs in the world. Raising a new generation of confident, capable, self-sufficient people is no small task. It can be a decades-long span of ups and downs made of heart-warming triumphs and more than a few mistakes. Hopefully, though, those mistakes don’t have lasting consequences.
Unfortunately, much of what parents must teach their kids can leave long-term or even permanent damage if it’s not handled routinely and in an age-appropriate way. One of the many important topics for parents to impart is internet safety.
CyberScout and the Identity Theft Resource Center conducted a study to find out more about kids’ internet use, the ways that parents view cyberactivity, and how parents are preparing their young digital natives to navigate the good and the bad of being online. The study looked at social media use, how much parents monitor their kids’ profiles as well as some of the harmful activities that children are exposed to while online. For example, the parents who were surveyed noted that their children had reported experiencing phishing (31.19 percent), cyber bullying (25.33 percent), and even identity theft (13.42 percent).
In addition to the inherent risks that the digital world brings, one of the scariest issues for parents is ensuring that their kids know how to follow their online rules when they’re not at home. For example, what if your child finds themselves at a friend’s house accessing websites that you don’t allow, talking to suspicious people via online chat, oversharing on social media or even cyberbullying fellow students – how do you make sure your carefully crafted online rules are still being followed?
Fortunately, helping your kids stay cyber safe when they’re not home doesn’t have to be daunting. It comes from having an open dialogue with your kids, setting appropriate and concrete expectations that apply regardless of where your child is and who they are with. It’s also crucial to not only help them understand why your rules are in place but to also give them a toolbox of ways to get out of a situation that they shouldn’t be in.
Knowing the problems that may come is important, but do your kids know what to do about it? Make sure they know how to speak up or extricate themselves from the situation if their friends are violating your hard-and-fast internet rules. It’s also important to coach them on how to handle these or any other uncomfortable situations and reiterate the importance of sharing these experiences with you – their parents. In any event, be sure that your kids don’t end up feeling punished for choosing to do the right thing, no matter how they get themselves out of a bad situation. For additional ways to help keep your children cyber smart, go here.
About the Author: Eva Velasquez
Eva is the President/CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Center. She has a passion for consumer protection and educating the public about identity theft, privacy, scams and fraud, and other related issues and is recognized as a national expert on these topics.
CyberScout proudly provides financial support to the Identity Theft Resource Center.