It’s almost summertime. That means school is out and it’s time to unwind and relax. And in today’s digital age, summertime can mean more screen time — which means more opportunities for hackers and predators to attack.
Since June is National Internet Safety Month, we’d like to share some great tips to keep you and your family safe this summer as you surf the web and download your favorite games and apps.
First, let’s start with some facts. Did you know that according to the “Safety net: The Impact of cyberbullying on children and young people’s mental health, February 2018:”
Nearly half of young people (47 percent) have received intimidating, threatening or nasty messages online.
Children and young people are using social media for longer periods, and using multiple profiles.
Underage (U13) use of social media is common.
There is a connection between intensive social media use and mental health issues.
One million youth had their identity stolen in 2017 — and the number is increasing.
Law enforcement officials estimate more than 50,000 sexual predators are active online at any given time.
According to BroadbandSearch, 95 percent of teenagers are connected to the internet and 85 percent are using social media, meaning that virtually no family is immune to the dangerous threats posed online.
Here are some resources to help you protect children:
Talk to children about their internet usage. Set boundaries including time limits and age-appropriate apps and sites they may visit and engage with.
Set screen-free days and times.
Know that screen-monitoring apps and limiters are not enough. Just like you would ask your children about their day and what they did, make sure that you discuss their “digital day” as well. Awareness is key!
Freeze your child’s social security number to protect them from identity thieves.
Helpful sites to continue the conversation:
The Union County Violence Intervention Plan (VIP) was developed in order to make available a network of area supports, opportunities and activities focused on best practice strategies for a community committed to changing the odds for individuals and families in need. The VIP can be viewed at www.sharefoundation.com or you can call Debbie Watts, SHARE Foundation VP of Community Impact for more information at (870) 881-9015.