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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Keeping Your Family Safe Online

Baby clicking a computer mouse.  Keeping your family safe online.  #Internetsafety #onlinedangers #netsmartz
*This post is in partnership with the Online Safety and Privacy Campaign at www.singlehop.com .

Several years ago I noticed that a teenage relative of mine had changed her Facebook profile to a picture of herself sporting a bathing suit.  In addition, she had most of her personal information marked public.  I quickly sent her a private message suggesting that she change it for her own protection.  In the meantime, some other relatives saw it and contacted her parents.  It later came out that she had opened the Facebook page without her parents consent.  While opening the Facebook page was in direct violation with her parent's wishes, the rest was rather innocent.  She simply didn't know about the dangers this could pose for her.
The recent Heartbleed Bug that attacked the majority of social media sites is just another reminder that even though online may feel safe, it is not.


I am going to give a disclaimer here and say that I need this reminder, as well.  I admit that, despite the caution I use while online, a predator could do just a small amount of digging and probably be able to get a good deal of information about me.  This is probably true for most of us.  However, that doesn't mean we need to make it easy for them!

So how does one go about protecting their family online?



  • Instruct your children to never share their:
          1) Names
          2) Address
          3) Phone number
          4) Birth dates
          5) School name
          6) Personal information such as sports or other special interests they may be involved with.
          7) A picture of themselves unless they have your permission.
          8) Passwords
          9) Email address without permission from you.
  • Always monitor what your kids are doing online.  Keep your family computer in a place that is not isolated.  With personal devices, this has become more difficult, however, talking to your kids about what they are doing online can go a long way.  Find out what Social Media they are on and then educate them about the dangers associated with being online.  There are all kinds of apps available now to block certain sites and monitor their activities online.  I know this may not be a popular way to go, but I would encourage you to use them!
  • Pick usernames that don't reveal anything personal about themselves including their gender
  • Never friend someone online you don't already know
  • Tell a trusted adult if something happens online that makes them feel uncomfortable.
  • Check to make sure that the GPS tagging is turned off on your devices so that shared pictures and videos don't reveal the date and location of your images.

The following two videos will show why it is so important to implement these rules in your home.  






If you would like to know more about how you can keep your family safe on the web, visit http://www.netsmartz.org.  I am not affiliated with this site in any way, but feel they have valuable facts, videos, and teaching aids.
I have not really talked about cyber bullying here, but this is yet another danger of being online.  Kids can not only be targeted by bullies, but can become the bully very easily online.  This is just another reason to monitor what they are doing and whom they are talking to while on the web.

What are you doing to keep your family safe online?

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26 comments:

  1. These are great tips! Even I'm guilty of some of things. Makes me worry when my son gets older. The internet is such a great thing but yet opens up the doors to some scary things. Thank you for the tips & reminders!

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    1. No problem Stacy! I sure need them too!

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  2. Some time ago an undercover cop gave a demo at the school where I worked about online security. In less than 5 minutes he took the name of a volunteer from the audience and told showed us how he found her FB page, school she attended, athletic schedule, list of friends she hangs out with, address, PHONE #, what she was wearing to school that day and what time she was leaving school along with her picture. All innocent information from her point of view but shocking what a predater could gain from it.

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    1. I have seen that too Jeannie! In fact I think there is a similar video on the netsmartz.org page. It is scary!

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  3. Awesome tips. Living in an online world is convenient, but it sure does bring its challenges. I think another good thing to keep in mind is to keep an open line of communication with your kids too. Let them know that if they have questions, they can ask.

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    1. I totally agree! Keeping those lines of communication open is key! I think it helps build a foundation of trust with your kids and allows them to feel safe coming to you when a problem does arise!

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  4. Amazing tips. My nieces and nephews have a Facebook and I worry sometimes because I know they don't quite understand how dangerous the world is. I also what they're friends post and the type of pictures I am in shock because at the end of the day they're children. The world is really changing. I shall make sure to use these tips towards their Facebook.

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    1. Please do Jazmine! It is getting harder to keep our youth safe, and educating them is the best way to do it!

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  5. Great tips! My son is 12, and he doesn't know a world that doesn't include sharing selfies all day and your entire schedule online. We talk a lot about this topic.

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    1. LOL I had to laugh when I read this. Every time my kids give my phone back it is filled with pictures they have taken of themselves! I don't currently allow any of them to have a phone, but know that day is coming soon! My older two boys 11 and 8 each have there own email which I monitor, but they are not allowed to have any social media accounts.

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  6. I have teen and middle school grandchildren that are on line and even though their parents are diligent in letting them know what is safe and what is not we all still monitor what they are sharing just to be sure. Thank you for sharing yet more great tips to keep them safer on this vast internet world....

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    1. I think having the family monitoring is a great idea. Kids are a little more cautious when they know others are watching! ;) Thanks for your comment, Cathy!

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  7. A great reference. Thanks for sharing these important tips.

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  8. Great minds think alike, I have a similar post today. These are some very important tips!

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    1. I saw yours too Lou! Great tips! :D

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  9. These are great tips Meredith! My kids are 10 and 7 and it's scary how much the world revolves around the internet. It's important to talk about these things with them. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. You are so right Hilda! It is scary. I am seeing younger and younger kids pop up on social media and with schools using the web so much for school, they are always on it. It is super important to teach them what is OK and what is not!

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  10. Definitely things I need to consider as my kids start using computers!

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    1. Absolutely Stephanie! www.netsmartz.org has a lot of information about teaching younger kids internet safety too! :)

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  11. Great tips.. I know have made sure that I "friend" all my families kids, mainly to watch and try to protect them with all the social media they are apart of.

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    1. That is a great idea Marlys. They may not like it, but it may save their lives someday! That sounds drastic, but it is true. We watch over our kids in the real world, why would it be any different in the virtual one? Thanks for commenting!

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