10 Back to School Internet Safety Tips That Every Parent Should Know

It's the end of August, and back to school time is approaching once again. Whether your kids are dreading waking up early to catch the school bus or chomping at the bit to get back, it's time to say goodbye to summer vacation. The new backpacks, new clothes, and new graphing calculators are already bought and waiting. Back to school time is exciting, and it's also a great time to have a refresher course with your teen about Internet safety

Internet safety for kids is important to talk about anytime, but it's even more important as they head off to school, possibly with a new smartphone. And if they don't have one, their friends will. Can they use it responsibly even when you're not physically there? Do they even know what your expectations and standards for online behavior are?

Whether you've had the Internet safety conversation a million times before or this is the first time you've really broached the subject, here are 10 essential Internet safety rules to establish to keep your teen safe this school year. 

  1. Tell an adult if you encounter anything online that makes you feel uncomfortable.

  2. Never agree to see in person someone you "met" online.

  3. Only friend people you know in real life.

  4. Protect sensitive or identifying information about yourself or your family by only sharing it offline.

  5. Only send or post pictures you'd feel comfortable printing in the newspaper, and don't share embarrassing or racy pictures of others.

  6. Don't respond to mean messages, and tell a parent if you are the victim of cyberbullying.

  7. Don't share your passwords with anyone other than a parent, including a best friend or significant other.

  8. Check with parents before downloading anything (or set house rules about what's okay and not okay to download.)

  9. Learn to use your privacy settings to make your blogs and social networking accounts private.

  10. Avoid chatting about sex or using profanity, especially with strangers. 

While you're on the subject, you'll also want to take the opportunity to review your rules about what times of day your child is allowed to go online, how long they can use the Internet per day, and the consequences for breaking the house rules. 

Here's hoping that your children have a fun and safe 2012-2013 school year!

-Article Contributed by Jenny Evans

We are pleased to announce that Bark will be taking over where we leave off. The uKnowKids mission to protect digital kids will live on with Bark. Our team will be working closely with Bark’s team in the future, so that we can continue making the digital world a safer, better place for kids and their families. While we are disappointed we could not complete this mission independently, we are also pleased to hand the uKnowKids baton to Bark.
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