Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center, the region’s leading resource to prevent abuse, protect children and heal families, is recognizing the importance of National Internet Safety Month this June with resources and tips to help the community manage children’s and teen’s time spent online, which puts them at risk of predators.
With research indicating that children who spend more than 30 minutes online per day could experience more loneliness and depression, it is advised that parents should closely monitor what children do online, the content they encounter, and their life environment and support network in general.
“Parents and caregivers should treat their child’s online environment the same way they treat their child’s physical environment,” said Dr. Carole Swiecicki of Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center. “They should know where they are going, how they are getting there, and who they are hanging out with.”
The following recommendations may also help caregivers manage their family’s tech safety:
- Educate themselves about the most frequently used apps for kids and teens and learn about their privacy settings and controls.
- Communicate openly about the risks and dangers of technology.
- Teach their children not to share personal information online and the reason why.
- Discuss and agree upon rules, expectations and consequences before giving their child access.
- Remind them that technology use is a privilege that comes with maturity and trust.
- Find out what their child is doing online and who they are talking to.
- Establish themselves as their child’s go-to resource for help and information.
The nonprofit suggests parents and caregivers remain vigilant, even though digital norms may shift, and start communicating early and often.
To learn more about Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center, visit www.deenortoncenter.org. The website also includes a “Tech Safety Tipsheet” with additional information on the current landscape of online activity among children and teens.
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