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5 tips for online safety

Published on July 18, 2017

5 tips for online safety

Denise Lenarz, MD, Pediatrician
CentraCare Clinic - Health Plaza Pediatrics

Keep kids safe onlineYou teach your children not to open the door to strangers or to admit that they are home alone when answering the phone, but are you teaching them to be safe online?

In the summer, your kids probably spend more time on their devices than usual. Whether used for fun or to learn, the internet is a great tool. But it can be dangerous. Go over these five online safety tips with your kids:

  1. Limit information. Your kids should never post personal information online such as full names, birthdays, home address or phone numbers.
  2. Choose wisely. The internet is forever. Once your kids share a post, picture or video, it can never be permanently deleted. Teach them to be thoughtful and cautious about what they post and share online.
  3. Don’t talk to strangers. If your kids don’t personally know someone, they should not be talking to that person online. Predators create fake profiles to hide their identities. Check your children’s privacy settings to make sure strangers can’t see their profiles. Sometimes privacy settings are reset to default settings during program updates, so be vigilant.
  4. Use stealth mode. Watch out for apps, networks and devices that have geo-tagging features to broadcast locations. Make sure these features are turned off so predators cannot locate your children.
  5. Guard passwords. If your children are younger, talk to them about not sharing their passwords with anyone other than their parents. For older kids, show them how to create strong passwords.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting “screen time” to two hours a day for children older than 2. Read “Help your child navigate the digital world” to learn more.

For more ideas, read the Department of Homeland Security’s “Chatting with Kids about Being Online.”

Health information accessed through www.centracare.com is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. We strive to present reliable, up-to-date health information on our web site and “For the Health of It” blog. However, this information is not intended for the purpose of diagnosing or prescribing. Please contact your health care provider if you have any concerns or questions about specific content that may affect your health. Log in to MyChart to send a secure message to your provider.

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