Internet Safety, Computer, and the Web

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Search the knowledge base for answers to all of your questions about the online world! If you can't find what you're looking for, use the "Ask the Experts" tab to send a new question.

Be Web Aware is a site that provides many resources to keep you kids safe online.
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Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media is dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology.


If you suspect your kid is being harassed:
Start a discussion. Your teen may not tell you if it's happening directly to him or her. But you can bring it up when you talk about online safety and responsible behavior. Tell kids about resources like That's Not Cool and the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline (1-866-331-9474) (1-866-331-8453 1-866-331-8453).
Let them know you are always there for them. Remind teens often that you're always available to talk to. While you're at it, put in a plug for the school counselor, a teacher, or even a friend's parent -- knowing that they have a trusted adult to talk to may encourage teens to open up.
Help them set boundaries. Tell teens never to do anything that's outside their comfort zone -- like sharing passwords or sending sexual photos. (It never hurts to reiterate that anything you send can travel far and wide.)
If you suspect your kid may be harassing someone:
Check their Facebook page. See what kind of comments your teen is sending -- and whether other kids are telling your kid to back off.
Check their cell phone. What kind of texts is your kid sending – and how many?
Check in with other parents. The parents of your kid's friends may know something you don't.
Help your kid. Find a counselor or an organization that's equipped to help. That'sNotCool is a great place to start.
Tips for all parents:
Check your teens' texts, IMs, and status updates. Be aware of who your kids are talking to, what they're saying, and how they're saying it. If your teens won't share their messages, look at your bill to see the quantity of texts.
Have a zero-tolerance policy. No sexting, no hate speech, no stalkerish behavior.
Teach teens to respect their devices. Explain what responsible ownership -- and behavior -- entails.
Teach kids to be upstanders, not bystanders. If teens see their friends getting harassed, they should report it to a teacher, a counselor, or another responsible, trustworthy adult.
Talk about the pressure to broadcast. Kids in abusive relationships are often coerced into sending scantily clad or naked pictures of themselves to "prove" their love. If this happens to your kid, that's a big red flag.

Talk about what's private. Kids differ from their parents in their take on what's "private" and what's OK to share. Explain to them the consequences of posting or sending intimate stuff. It can be copied, forwarded, and sent to thousands of kids in an instant.



Internet Sexual Exploitation

Katiesplace.org: for Young Victims of Internet Sexual Exploitation

Katiesplace.org is a special program of WiredSafety.org, designed by and for young victims of Internet sexual exploitation. But Katiesplace.org is not only for victims, it is also for those who love and care about them, such as their family members, friends and loved ones. With the gentle support and guidance they find at Katiesplace.org, many victims can share what happened to them and start their healing process.

Online predators: Help minimize the risk with these tips from Microsoft.

Family Safe Computers The goal of this web site is to empower parents and adults desiring to keep their family safer online by providing easy to understand information and resources. Check out it's link for online predators. "Sexual predators do exist and are a very real threat. They target both boys and girls of all ages and use the anonymity of the Internet to their advantage since they can be whomever they want." familysafecomputersISD09ParentGuide.pdf This guide contains excerpts from The Family Computer Handbook © 2006 Brian Rice (Practical Press 2006). The Family Computer Handbook is available at: www.Amazon.com and www.BarnesandNoble.com.


Social Networking Safety--A Guide for Parents




Say What?

What do those acronyms mean? Decode you child's text and instant messages.

At times it seems as if children live to create new, increasingly secretive ways of communicating—leaving adults in the dark. Shed some light on their online conversations with NetSmartz® Workshop’s list of need-to-know chat abbreviations, including those used to talk about sex and drugs. NetSmartz helps you keep your children safer online by
providing the 411 necessary to decode their online chats.

Teen Chat Decoder

Just start typing the term you wish to search in the box. When you do, the teen chat term database will automatically start to display all possible results for your search.


On LIne Gaming Safety


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Have you set the parental controls on your family’s game console? Are the games age-appropriate? Do you know who your kids chat with while gaming online?
If you’re not sure how to protect your family from cyberbullies, scammers, and predators while they game, follow these gaming tips from the safety experts at NetSmartz® Workshop and Microsoft’s® GetGameSmart. Distribute these tips to others working to keep kids safer online.
Visit NetSmartz.org to download the gaming safety flyer. Also check out the new NSTeens online gaming piece, launching on April 1, 2009.

Tips to keep your Gamer Safe

  • View game ratings and prescreen games online before purchasing.
  • Check if the console comes with parental control features.
  • Set the parental controls before children start playing. (Consult the user guide.)
  • Set up consoles in a common area for easy supervision.
  • Decide if you want to use the console's Internet capabilities.
  • Set gaming rules with your children, such as how long and with whom they can play.
  • Choose gender-neutral, appropriate screennames.
  • Decide if you want to allow voice chat. (If so, use voice-masking features.)
  • Teach your children not to reveal personal information online.
  • Encourage them not to respond to cyberbullies and to block unwanted contact.

CELL PHONE SAFETY TIPS FOR PARENTS

  • DO speak with your child about their cell phone habits and your safety concerns
  • DO set limits on what your child can do on their cell phones (i.e. who they can talk to, when they can be on their phones, the number of text messages they can send and what they are allowed to post online)
  • DO access your cell phone carrier’s parental control settings and decide the settings that will work best for you
  • DO talk with your kids about the consequences for sexting and cyberbullying
  • DO NOT overact or take away your child’s cell phones if they tell you about something bad that they experienced online or with their cell phones. Cell phones are important for emergency situations and staying connected
  • DO encourage your child to teach you what they can do with their cell phones
  • DO NOT hesitate to get help from school and law enforcement authorities if you think a bully or predator may be targeting your child. Save copies of all messages and report the misuse to your service provider
  • DO regularly review your child’s pictures on their cell phones
  • DO get to know your child’s online friends as you would their real-life friends
    WEB|WISE|KIDS

  • 51% of teens 16-17 admitted that they talk on cell phones behind the wheel.
  • 53% of teens admit to sending hurtful messages.
  • 33% of teens have been victims of a cyberbully through online tools, including cell phones.
  • 20% of teens overall say they have sent/posted nude or seminude pictures or videos of themselves. 11% were teen girls between the ages of 13-16.
  • Almost 40% of all teens have sent or posted sexually suggestive messages.
  • 51% of teen girls say pressure from a guy is a reason girls send sexy messages or images; only 18% of teen boys cited pressure from female counterparts as a reason.
  • 23% of teen girls and 24% of teen boys say they were pressured by friends to send or post sexual content.
Sources:
National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. Sex and Tech: Results from a Nationally Representative Survey of teens and Young Adults, 10 Dec. 2008
Harris Interactive and CTIA. A Generation unplugged: Research Report. 12 Sept. 2008[[@http://www.commonsensemedia.org/texting-taking-over-your-teen|Is Texting Taking Over Your Teen? Common Sense Media
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