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Parents can be proactive in their child’s online activity

We live in a world filled with technology. It is literally at our fingertips. There are definite benefits to technology. We can keep in touch with friends and family across the globe. If we get lost while driving, we can pull over and bring up step by step directions. There are recipes, research and supplies at the convenient click of a mouse.

As with most things in life, the good also comes with some bad. Technology can be distracting. It also gives bullies a platform—one in which they can maintain a false sense of power and even anonymity. As a parent, technology can be a scary thing.

You can be vigilant in protecting your child when they venture online.

  • Set parental controls and learn how to monitor internet history.
  • Talk to your kids about what sites they use and any social media presence they may have.
  • Use the websites and platforms that your children use to get a better sense of what these sites have to offer. Understand and enforce privacy settings.
  • Talk to your child about accepting friend requests, and encourage them to tell you about any negative comments, suspicious behavior or unknown persons who try to initiate contact.
  • Depending on age, you may even ask for their passwords. Kids may be reluctant to give you this information. You can assure them that you will only use it in their presence to check on their activity or in emergency situations.
  • Ask for them to accept you, or another adult that you trust, as a friend on social media sites so that you can monitor comments and activity.

Children may not be forthcoming about being cyber-bullied—especially if it is by a friend or kid of a certain stature at school. Look for changes in behavior, extreme reactions or secretive behavior when your child accesses the internet. These could be signs that bullying is taking place online.

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