Summer vacation has come to an end; students have returned to the classroom and the daily grind of homework has begun. With today’s technology, most kids will spend a lot of time online conducting research, having virtual group meetings for projects, and connecting with classmates through social media sites. Now is the time for parents, teachers, administrators and mentors to talk with children about the importance of cyber-security and online safety.
The Internet has opened the door of opportunity for all of us and allows us to view an endless source of news, information, photos and videos with just a push of a button. Our children are able to access and share more information then ever before, and this can leave them vulnerable to predators, and a multitude of dangers that lurk in cyberspace.
Even the most vigilant parents are finding it hard to keep up with their children’s growing appetites to visit new websites or try social media platforms. The Lee County Sheriff’s Office encourages adults to create an open and honest environment with kids and offers these safety tips to get you started:
• Have conversations regularly about practicing online safety.
• Emphasize repeatedly the concept of credibility and that not everything they see on the Internet is true.
• People they don’t know personally on the Internet may not be who they say they are. Anyone can post a picture and personal information that is nothing but a lie.
• Review security settings and privacy policies for the websites kids frequent.
• Know the passwords for their computer and smart phone.
• Do not allow computers in the bedroom.
In today’s world, protecting our children goes far beyond the streets and playgrounds. Today it includes the internet, where criminals and disturbed individuals hide under the cloak of anonymity waiting to attack.
If you have questions regarding this safety and security tip or if you would like to report a fraud or scam, please contact the Lee County Sheriff’s Office Fraud Line at 239-477-1242. To arrange to have someone come out to your community to talk about this or another safety or security topic please contact the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Community Relations Section at (239) 477-1400.