Internet Safety Hacks and Child Safety

We were all told before the invention of the internet that the world could be a threatening place. While we have made a lot of progress as a society to make the world a safer place, the truth remains that there are still risks facing us.

Random cyberbullying attacks put children and young adults at risk. These attacks can cause mental stress, anxiety, poor academic performance, withdrawal, and, in some cases, a sense of hopelessness that leads to suicidal thoughts and acts, but there is hope. There are several things that you can do as a parent, educator, or guardian to guard against these senseless attacks and to protect children.

Cyberbullying can be made less effective by starting an open conversation. Create a safe place for your child by talking to them and actively listening. Be conscious of body language, and abrupt changes in behavior and academic performance can be crucial indications there is some harassment. If a child feels comfortable talking to someone in authority, they are more likely to discuss the issue rather than feeling guilty or as if they deserve the abuse.

More than 80 percent of teens use cell phones; 10-20 percent of adolescents experience daily cyberbullying. Accessing social media accounts, computers, and other electronic devices your child has can help you to track communication to and from others. Having this access is not a privacy invasion, but the creation of security around them.

One of our main jobs as parents and caregivers is to protect our children. Some steps to protect them may be as simple as limiting private computer time, parental apps on phones that monitor phrases and actions against a cyberbully, and pornographic sites. Some suggestions of protecting them early on is waiting until your child is a teenager before granting access to the cellphones. Some websites indicate lists of anti-bully apps that are available for parents to review. These apps can be free, or some may have one-time costs or monthly subscriptions.

There's a lot that we can do to enhance internet security, and it starts at home. If you don't have children, you can still be their champion. Reporting violence, fostering a positive self-image, and creating a safe space for encouraging conversations. Hoyleton's Prevention Department provides schools with educational resources as well as partnering with schools, and concerned community members to address these situations. Hoyleton's Prevention Department provides educational resources and partners with schools, and interested community members to expand on these matters.

Tips and Tricks

  • Keep a timer to track the use of computer time, especially when playing games, which have chat rooms.
  • Keep the computer within a shared space. Set consequences for misuse of the internet.
  • Actively be a part of your child's internet experience. Bookmark your child's favorite websites for quick connecting.
  • Monitor your credit card charges and phones for suspicious activity.
  • When on the internet, be aware of your child's attitude. Note any changes in behavior, anger, frustration, or loss of control.
  • Define boundaries as to acceptable levels of online sharing of personal information (photos, phone numbers, "friend requests" monitoring, etc.).

Information resources:

bullyingstatistics.org, stopbullying.gov, eschool.com

If you are interested in more information for your school or organization, please contact Hoyleton's prevention department at

https://hoyleton.org/programs/community-outreach/

These stats are from https://safeatlast.co/blog/kids-online-safety/#gref

Stats are from May 2019.

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