The Internet can be a useful tool for any school. The Internet can allow students to do research on a list of subjects, connect with pen pals in different countries, or play games to help increase the student’s understanding of a particular subject. Though the Internet can help students, there are a number of safety tips that a school can teach that will assist in the student staying safe. Make sure to research a few Internet providers to make sure you choose the best one for your situation.
When we become adults, we use our personal identity to apply for things like loans, jobs and credit cards. Children do not. They don’t need to use their own personal identities until they reach early adulthood, which is about 17 or 18. While the years are going by, it gives thieves many years to take a child’s identify and use it for their illegal activities. This stolen identity is undetected until they apply for a loan.
In Minnesota, a 15-year-old boy’s identify was stolen from medical information they had given the hospital online when getting ready to have surgery. The boy was getting texts all the time stating he was approved for a mortgage or a credit card. The boy’s mother thought something is not quite right. She received a letter from the hospital saying that her son’s information had been stolen. The hospital said his name, date of birth, age, medical record number, admission date, room number, physician name, and various notes were exposed. The thief had enough information about the boy to establish some credit. The mother is concerned about what will happen when her son turns 18 and he wants to go for a student loan or anything like that—this is his credit—this is his life. This is just one example of many. Though the previous story was an innocent example of giving out information, we should teach our children to keep their information private and never share it with anyone online; not to friends or strangers. If you find that your child does have a credit report, you need to clean up the problem with the credit agencies and then freeze their credit report.
Teach a child about passwords. Make sure they know when they create a password, that it should be hard for anyone to guess it. It is recommended to use a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols in one’s password. In addition to having a strong password, school-age children should never share their password. In the event that a school-age child gives their password to a friend, then their account can get hacked.
Stephanie, a 13-year-old from California, thought she was being creative when she came up with her password. She used her birthday backward and her dog’s name in her password. When she was with a group of friends, they started talking about passwords and she casually mentioned to her friends that she can remember what hers is easily and told them what it was. Soon after, she had unusual emails coming to her email account that she had never seen before. They knew her name and even more personal information. Though she was able to change her password after telling her parents, this story stresses the importance of parents teaching their kids that they should never share their passwords–ever. Some suggestion by authorities to keep passwords safe is not to use real words, don’t write a password down, and change passwords on a regular basis. Also, it is suggested to use different passwords for different accounts.
Say No to Offline Meetups
Children should be warned against the idea of meeting someone offline that they have met online. There are dangerous people in this world. Some people prey on little children in hopes to do them physical or sexual harm. To prevent such a thing from occurring, children should be taught to never give information about his or her whereabouts and also they should never agree to meet someone online.
In late May, 2018, police in Sarasota County, Florida arrested 21 adult men on charges stemming from their intent to have sex with teenage boys and girls. This operation brought over 60 felony charges against men between the ages of 22 and 58 years old. These alleged predators answered many different online ads and social media posts which were ads and posts that had been created by police. The men that were arrested had conversations of a sexually explicit nature with undercover detectives. These men thought they were communicating with minors between 12 and 14 years old.
Though this story ended with the capture of the predators, there are many stories where the outcome is heartbreaking. Children need to be taught that even though they might feel like they are protected by the apparent distance that their computer screen gives between them and the person they’re talking to, they must remember that online is still the real world, and in the real world dangerous situations lay waiting. The days of privacy are over. Parents need to check their child’s phones and apps. Parents also need to get smart about what to look for. Not sure? Ask a professional who works in this type of field. The more knowledge you have, the safer your child will be.
One in five youths between age 10 and 18 have been a victim of cyberbullying or participated in cyberbullying, according to a survey of 4,400 children conducted by the Cyberbullying Research Center. The sad fact is that cyberbullying can do a lot of harm. In Florida, two preteens were arrested for cyberbullying in the death of a middle school student. She had been distraught over this and hung herself. One of the suspects admitted to starting rumors about the girl online. There was vulgar name calling and threatening to release personal information and sensitive details about her.
Every day a number of children fall victim to cyberbullying. Cyberbullying victims are nearly twice as likely to commit suicide. We should warn children against such practices because they can have negative consequences. Children who are bullied need to be taught effectively to tell someone that they trust about it. Parents should report it to the authorities. Kids should also stand up for others who are going through cyberbullying and get involved in anti-bullying programs. State and local lawmakers have taken action to prevent bullying and protect children. Find out how your state refers to bullying in its laws and policies.