Signs that your child may be at risk
- Your child spends large amounts of time on their digital device, especially at night.
- You find pornography on your child´s digital device.
- Your child turns the digital device off quickly or changes the screen on the monitor when you come into the room.
- Your child becomes withdrawn from the family.
- Your child is using an online account that belongs to someone else.
- Your child receives gifts, or packages from someone you don´t know.
- Your child receives phone calls from people that you do not know or is making calls, sometimes long distance, to numbers you don´t recognize.
Talk to your child
- Let your child know that they can talk to you about anything they encounter on their digital device that makes them feel uncomfortable.
- Tell your child not to respond when someone offers them something for nothing, such as free software, gifts or money.
- Remind your child that the people they may chat with online are still strangers.
- Bear in mind that people may not be who they seem.
Because you can´t see or hear people online it´s easy for an adult to pretend to be a kid.
- Remember, how you respond to your child will determine whether they confide in you the next time they encounter a problem.
- Set reasonable rules and guidelines for your child before they use their digital devices.
- Know all of your child’s passwords, including those for their e-mail accounts, to access their digital devices, and to access their social media sites.
- Discuss these rules and post them on the refrigerator as a reminder.
- Work together to decide what apps are and are not appropriate.
- Try to enlist your child´s cooperation and self – regulation wherever possible. For example, have your children write and sign a statement agreeing not to use certain apps or visit certain websites.
- Never allow your child to arrange a face-to-face meeting with anyone, without your permission.
- Never post information about your child such as your home address, school name, telephone number, age or any other personal information on social media sites.
- Never post a picture on a social media site that provides personal information, such as your child in their sports uniform or clothing with the name of their school on them.
- Never use your child´s name or e-mail address in any public directories or profiles.
- Tell your child to never respond to threatening or obscene messages.
- Tell your child to never click on any links that are contained in e-mail from persons they don´t know. Such links could lead to sexually explicit or otherwise inappropriate web sites.
As a family:
- Make on-line use a family activity.
- Keep all digital devices in a family room or kitchen, not in the child´s bedroom.
- Get to know your child´s friends and followers, just as you would get to know all of their other friends.
- Get to know your child´s favorite apps and websites.
- Talk with your child about what you like and dislike about the sites they visit, as a way of reinforcing your values.
- Be an involved parent. Monitor your child´s online activity, just as you would monitor the shows they watch on television, the games they play or the movies they see.
What you can do:
- Learn how the digital device works.
- Familiarize yourself with all the latest apps and social media sites that your child is using. This will alert you to any potential problem your child may encounter while using their device and apps.
- Ask your Internet Service Provider (ISP) whether they offer filtering services to families with young children.
- If not check out filtering software that you can purchase for a modest cost.
- If your child receives a message that is harassing, of a sexual nature, or is threatening; forward a copy to your ISP provider, and ask for their assistance.
Also be sure to contact the local police or District Attorney´s Office.
- If you become aware of the transmission, use, or viewing of child pornography while on your child’s digital device, immediately notify the police, and contact the District Attorney´s Office. You should also report it to the National center for Missing and Exploited Children´s CyberTipline at 1-800-843-5678 or Missing Kids Cybertip lineopens in a new window