A recent police operation in Northeast Wisconsin brought to light the dangers that can be lurking online. Internet crimes against children are an unfortunate reality that cell phone users need to be aware of. Today’s kids are using wireless at early ages to do everything from keeping connected with family and friends to using applications for education and safety to entertainment. With technology so engrained in everyday life, it is more important than ever to educate yourself and talk to your kids about being safe.
Educate Yourself - parents are the first line of defense and best resource in protecting kids from the dangers of cyberspace, so it’s important that you educate yourself. Know how your kids use wireless devices; ask what apps and features they’re using on their phone. If you need to learn to use your own device better, ask your favorite Cellcom associate.
Set Rules - laying groundwork for when and how kids can their phone can help them make better decisions. Set clear limits in regards to where they are allowed to go on the internet, who they may have contact with, and what information they can share. Sharing personal information like name, school, location and age should be strongly discouraged because information posted is a lot more public and permanent than it seems.
Check Settings – review the settings on a child’s smartphone and social profiles to see what information is being shared publicly. Know that location settings can be turned off on all smartphones and most social networks have privacy controls that should be used.
Monitor – built-in features like Restrictions for iPhone® and apps like My Mobile Watch Dog for Android™ allow parents to monitor Internet use, restrict app downloads, define usage times and more. These features and applications are great ways to reinforce rules that are already set.
Talk About It - it’s important to have discussions with your children to make sure they know what’s right and wrong and know what you may be blocking or watching and why. Keep the lines of communication open and let your child know they can come to you if they see something inappropriate online.