June is National Internet Safety Month; and with many kids at home alone over the summer months, the Kentucky attorney general's office is reminding parents to talk to their children about the Internet and how to stay safe online.
The attorney general's office says a survey of 10 to 17-year-olds by the Pew Research Center and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children showed that 34 percent had posted their real names, telephone numbers, home addresses, or names of their schools online.
Parents are asked to follow these simple steps to help keep their kids safe this summer and throughout the year.
Online Safety Checklist:
· Google your children (and yourself) often for your child’s contact information. It can help you spot ways in which your child’s personal information may be exposed to strangers online or could be an early detection system for cyberbullying posts.
· Keep the computer in a family room, kitchen or open area, NOT in a child’s bedroom.
· Teach your children they should never meet an online friend in person unless you are with them.
· Find out what email and instant messaging accounts they have and ask them for their passwords for those accounts.
· Teach your children about the dangers of cell phone cameras and how they may be used against them. Cell phone images can be easily downloaded, altered and exploited on the Internet.
· Consider installing monitoring and filtering software. Check for free downloads at www.K9webprotection.com. Texting/Cyberbullying
The following are important tips from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) regarding texting and cyberbullying.
Never respond to harassing or rude comments.
Save or print the evidence.
Talk to your parents or guardian if you are harassed and get help reporting this to your ISP, school, or local law enforcement if you feel threatened.
Report anyone you don't know who asks for your personal information, photos, or videos.
Report inappropriate or obscene material from people or companies you don't know.
Tips To Prevent Sexting
· Think about the consequences of taking, sending or forwarding a sexual picture of someone underage, even if it’s of you.
· Never take images of yourself that you wouldn’t want everyone—your classmates, teachers, family or employers to see.
· Before hitting send, remember that you can’t control where this image may travel.
· If you forward a sexual picture of someone underage, you are as responsible for this image as the original sender. You could face pornography charges, go to jail and have to register as a sex offender.
· Report any nude pictures you receive on your cell phone to an adult you trust.
Internet Safety Resources:
For additional information on Cybersafety in Kentucky, visit http://ag.ky.gov/cybersafety/
To report cyberabuse visit www.cyberTipline.com
or call 1-800-THE-LOST.