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Cyber Safety

Cyber Safety
As parents, we certainly can’t be with our children constantly to monitor the potentially inappropriate material they may encounter. But we can help them learn to make good choices. We can take advantage of teachable moments to compare media content and messages to our family values perhaps when watching a TV commercial or show, viewing a website, movie, or discussing the lyrics to a song.

Cyber safety is an important parent-child discussion to revisit frequently with your child, from elementary school through high school. Experts warn that children are most vulnerable to online dangers while in their own home. While many potential dangers are filtered so students can’t access them at schools, children may have direct access to inappropriate sites at home.

What you can do to keep your child safe:

Install software to filter and block inappropriate content on your home computer. The schools use these tools as well. Filters can be set to block Internet access completely or block certain sites like pornography, social media, and gaming. Further, filters allow a parent to completely control when access is open/closed to such sites. These same tools allow parents to control any wireless device, whether it is a laptop, a smartphone with a web browser, an iPod touch, and more. Without any filtering software at home, a user can get to any site on any device, including a desktop computer.

Some possible filters to consider include OpenDNS (Here's a short, two minute instructional video for you describing how easy this is to do with free OpenDNS software), SafeEyes, MobiCip and NetNanny, or if you have a newer computer with Microsoft Windows or Mac iOS, the software is built right into the operating system- it’s called Parental Controls and there is no need to buy anything else.

Filters can be set to block Internet access completely or block certain sites like pornography, social media, and gaming. Further, filters allow a parent to completely control when access is open/closed to such sites. These same tools allow parents to control any wireless device, whether it is a laptop, a smartphone with a web browser, an iPod touch, and more. Without any filtering software at home, a user can get to any site on any device, including a desktop computer.

Other filters to consider:

  • Turn on the free tools within Google and YouTube to activate stricter filters on web, image, and video searches.
  • TV cable companies offer filtering services as well. Again, simply Google your provider along with the words "parental controls" to learn how to access these features.
  • Products are now available that monitor your child's posts and digital footprint/reputation on sites like Facebook and Twitter, such as SafetyWeb and Social Shield.
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