Tips for Internet Safety Month
Editor’s Note: Our thanks to Stephen Balkam, CEO of the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI), for helping us kick off Internet Safety Month here at Comcast Voices.
Following a three-day weekend kicking off the Summer season, it’s important to think about the upcoming months and realize that as kids are getting out of school they will have a lot more free time on their hands, and a lot more time to go online.
And while the Internet offers a variety of wonderful opportunities for learning and sharing information, there are associated risks that come along with surfing the web.
June is Internet Safety Month and the perfect time for parents to sit down with their kids to have a discussion about their online habits and behaviors. Parents need to be engaged in their children’s online activity and ask about the sites they are visiting, who they are interacting with online, and what personal information they are sharing. We like to call it the three C’s:
Many parents might be surprised to find out how web-enabled their kids are. Many cell phones, devices like the iPod Touch, and gaming consoles have wireless capabilities. And with so many headlines in the media about cyberbullying, sexting and social networking, June is the perfect time to take a step back and think about the foundational layers we need to put in place to make the Internet a safer for families and how we can teach our kids to be responsible when they are online so they don’t succumb to potential risks.
The Family Online Safety Institute promotes a Culture of Responsibility Online. What does this entail? It means that all Internet stakeholders work together to take responsibility for making the web a safer place. This includes reasonable government oversight, robust and comprehensive industry self-regulation, fully resourced law enforcement, tech-savvy teachers, empowered parents and resilient kids who make wise choices online.
We need to empower kids to be able to make smart decisions online, not only about their behavior, but knowing when their peers behavior has gone too far – and if you haven’t already started a conversation with your kids about the potential consequences their actions on the Internet can have, Internet Safety Month is a great time to do it.
Here are 10 of FOSI’s tips for parents during Internet Safety Month: