By Jerri Stroud, BBB Editor
We’ve all heard horror stories about children being victimized by predators online, and we wonder, ‘What can we do to keep them safe?’
The FTC is riding to the rescue with a new version of its popular free guide on how to talk to children and youth about using the Internet safely, Net Cetera: Chatting with Kids About Being Online.
Net Cetera is filled with great advice about how and when to talk to your kids. Hint: It’s almost never too early, especially if your child is using a phone, a mobile device like a tablet or a computer.
The guide also advises talking to kids in everyday situations about what your and their experiences might be and what you expect of them. Great tip: Repeating your advice in small doses probably works better than sitting them down for “a talk.”
Often, kids don’t realize the risks of sharing pictures or personal information online. They may not know what to do if they become the victim of bullying or inappropriate sharing of information or photos. Parents need to make sure the child knows to come to them if something like that happens, especially if the perpetrator asks the child to keep the incident a secret.
The booklet has advice for parents on how to use filtering and blocking tools, software that limits their time on the computer and use of kid-oriented browsers or search engines. There’s also advice that’s based on your child’s age or stage of development.
Free copies of the booklet and other materials are available at onguardonline.gov/netcetera.