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Is your child graduating to a new digital device?

May 27th, 2014 No comments

Its graduation time, and smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles, and laptops are tops on many kids’ wish lists. Whether your child is graduating from preschool or college, it’s never too late to talk with them about online safety before you hand over the new device.

  • Set clear rules for young children about who they can talk to, text, or play games with.
  • With older kids, discuss online bullying, sexting, and the dangers of using a phone while driving.
  • Have kids lock all devices and accounts with a PIN or strong password, and remind them to keep their passwords secret—even from best friends.
  • Talk to kids about limiting the personal information they share to close friends only.
  • Consider disabling the location services on your young child’s devices; at the very least, turn it off for any camera.
  • Teach tweens and teens to use location-based services cautiously.

For more guidelines on kids and online safety, see Digital gift-giving checklist, and download a printable version of the checklist (PDF, 186 KB).

Is your child graduating to a new digital device?

May 27th, 2014 No comments

Its graduation time, and smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles, and laptops are tops on many kids’ wish lists. Whether your child is graduating from preschool or college, it’s never too late to talk with them about online safety before you hand over the new device.

  • Set clear rules for young children about who they can talk to, text, or play games with.
  • With older kids, discuss online bullying, sexting, and the dangers of using a phone while driving.
  • Have kids lock all devices and accounts with a PIN or strong password, and remind them to keep their passwords secret—even from best friends.
  • Talk to kids about limiting the personal information they share to close friends only.
  • Consider disabling the location services on your young child’s devices; at the very least, turn it off for any camera.
  • Teach tweens and teens to use location-based services cautiously.

For more guidelines on kids and online safety, see Digital gift-giving checklist, and download a printable version of the checklist (PDF, 186 KB).

Online safety for kids with new digital devices

December 24th, 2013 No comments

We know that lots of kids will be getting new phones, tablets, laptops, gaming systems, and other digital devices this holiday season. If you’re a parent, guardian, or educator, here are some tips for helping kids stay safe.

  • Agree on the rules. Come up with guidelines that work for your family, and post them somewhere at home. Microsoft offers a sample agreement, the Get Game Smart PACT (PDF, 2.16 MB), to help you sort out family rules.

  • Protect their privacy. Teach kids how to keep their accounts private and lock their devices with a PIN or password. Consider disabling the location services on your young child’s devices.

  • Monitor use. Know who your kids are communicating with, what games they’re playing, and what websites or services they’re using. Follow the recommended age limits on games and social networking websites. Set limits that work for your family.

  • Teach your kids to stand up to online bullying. Encourage your kids not to post or text anything that would hurt or embarrass someone. Make sure they know never to make, send, or accept provocative texts, photos, or videos.

For more information, see our new Digital Gift-Giving Checklist.

Download a printable version of the checklist.

Do you know what your kids are doing online?

July 31st, 2012 No comments

Last month McAfee released results from their 2012 Teen Internet Behavior study. The study revealed that 61 percent of teens think that they can successfully hide their online behavior from their parents.

Here are a few examples of what they do:

  • Erase browser history
  • Minimize browser window when parents come into the room
  • Use their cell phone for Internet activity, instead of the family computer

We think that the best way to protect your child on the Internet is for both parents and kids to understand the risks and for families to communicate with each other about their experiences online. That means making sure everyone knows the basics of online safety. Some parents have also found that once you establish your own rules, it helps to create an Internet contract.

For more information: