October is National Cyberbullying Awareness Month

october cyber securityDid you know that October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month? 2012 marks the ninth year that the National Cyber Security Alliance and the Department of Homeland Security have teamed up to educate the American public – and that includes your kids – about staying safe online. Here's what you can do.

We are so connected these days that we rely on the Internet for everything, and nobody more so than our kids. They do their homework online. They manage their entire social lives on Facebook. If anybody needs to be more educated about Internet safety, it's our kids, who usually believe they really are anonymous as they sit behind their screen, intensely vulnerable and potentially exposing themselves to online predators and identity thieves. 

National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) 2012 will focus on a different critical safety issue each week in October:

  • Week 1: Stop. Think. Connect.

  • Week 2: Law Enforcement and Cyber Security.

  • Week 3: Industry Efforts in Cyber Security.

  • Week 4: Digital Literacy Efforts.

There are lots of ways you can get involved, from sharing Internet safety tips with your Twitter followers to attending or organizing a local NCSAM event. But the most important thing you can do is be an involved parent.

Know what your kids are doing online, and talk about how they can protect themselves from sharing too much with the wrong people. Whether you hold a formal family meeting or just talk about it over dinner is a matter of what approach feels most natural to you and most comfortable for your children.

Proper online sharing keeps kids safe from cyberbullying, online predators, or getting stung by the sexting bug. Kids are also identity thieves' favorite victims because the crime will most likely go undetected for several years until they apply for a first job.

Bad guys lurking on the Internet are smart, so teach your children to be smarter. There's no time like National Cyber Security Month to start.

-Article Contributed by Jenny Evans

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