Online Safety for Kids
Kids spend more time online now than ever before, and many start using devices and the internet at a very young age. Knowing this, hackers and scammers have developed tactics that target kids, and on top of that, kids can be exposed to inappropriate content, cyberbullying and privacy issues.
Your kids’ best defense against these threats is having the knowledge, tools and internet savvy they need to use devices safely, and the resources we’ve included below can help you identify issues and start conversations about them.
General Tips and Resources
The Federal Trade Commission has a great general resource page to help you get started protecting your kids online. It includes a booklet written specifically for children, a video about cyberbullying and a collection of resources for parents and teachers to use to educate kids and stay up to date on online security issues.
This tip sheet from the Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) summarizes how to manage the risks involved with kids being online. It also provides links to some sites and resources you can go to for more information.
If keeping your kids safe online keeps you up at night, check out this Consumer Reports article. You’ll find out how to put reasonable safeguards on screen time and how to involve them in setting rules.
Smartphones and kids can be a scary mix! Use parental control features or download apps to help alleviate some worries. Get all the info you need on parental controls from this Consumer Reports article.
Online Security Games
Learning about something is always more fun with a game, right? This game, developed by Google, teaches kids how to be good internet citizens and avoid common online security threats. P.S. Google also includes some great tips for conversations and activities you can do as a family to learn about online safety. Another good source for games about online security is, believe it or not, the FBI. If your kids are in grades three to eight, they can play these online games to learn age-appropriate cyber safety and digital citizenship lessons with the help of some animal friends.
You may be able to spot a scam from a mile away, but can your kids? The more time they spend online, the more vital it is that they have this skill. Plus, scammers have developed methods that specifically target kids! Check out this article from Norton for more information about how to talk to your kids about scams.
Kids Online Privacy
Are you familiar with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule? As a parent, it gives you tools to control the information that is collected online about your kids younger than 13. This Federal Trade Commission article explains in more detail what the COPPA Rule is, how it is enforced, and how you can report sites and services that violate it.
If protecting the privacy of your kids seems overwhelming, start with this set of tips from Stay Safe Online. It includes what areas of online privacy to discuss with your kids and how you can model good practices for them. And if you have teenagers, share these tips from Stay Safe Online with them. The comprehensive list includes everything from being careful about what you share to protecting personal information to connecting via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth safely.
Protecting your kids’ online privacy starts with you. Consumer Reports shares how you can provide a good example of privacy protection for your kids when they’re young, and how to talk to them about privacy protection and encourage good practices as they get older.
Your kids are social media experts. How about you? This article from Norton is a great start to understanding social media safety, including popular platforms among teens, social media safety talking points for a conversation with your kids, and ground rules that will help keep them safe. Note: Lake City Bank provides these third party materials for information only and doesn’t promote or endorse the organizations or their products. The bank doesn’t confirm the information’s accuracy or any opinions contained in the materials.
Social media allows kids to stay connected with friends and family, including those who live far away, but it also comes with some risks. Experian explains eight of the most common threats parents need to know about and talk through with their kids.
If your kids use social media, this article from Consumer Reports is a great resource to share with them. The article illustrates a Facebook Messenger scam specifically, but the example applies to how any conversation that seems harmless can lead to giving away personal information. Also, the tips it provides at the end are great for anyone who wants to be safe online.