Smartwise releases Internet safety guide | TribLIVE.com
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Megan Tomasic

Wondering how to keep your kids safe on the Internet during summer vacation?

Safewise, a home security and safety advising company, has released a guide to help parents identify threats and ways to protect kids from online predators.

Major threats include cyberbullying, online predators and exposure to inappropriate content ranging from vulgar language and hate speech to graphic images.

According to the list, about 34% of kids between 12 and 17 years old have been cyberbullied, while almost 12% have bullied someone online. Cyberbullying includes aggressive or threatening activity conducted through email, social media and text messages.

Setting boundaries, talking about cyberbullying, blocking the bully, reporting inappropriate interactions and acknowledging a child’s feelings are steps to take if your child is being bullied, the list reads. If your child is the bully, check for new email or social media accounts, encourage children to deal with their feelings and seek professional help.

Children between 1 and 17 years old can be victims of online predators, Safewise said, and about 78% of girls are child victims.

Understanding the dangers of online predators, guiding online behaviors, monitoring activity and keeping kids out of places like chat rooms and social networks can help protect them from online predators, according to the website. Teaching kids to not share personal information online including photos, not talk to strangers or meet people in person are also recommended.

If your child is targeted, Safewise says to cut off communication with the predator, change online credentials and save screenshots or copies of messages.

According to Safewise, over 55% of kids between 10 and 12 have been exposed to violent content on the internet and about 60% have seen sexually explicit words or images.

To combat vulgar content, parents should teach kids how to navigate the internet, let kids know what to watch for, explain email safety and set up firewalls and content blockers, the list reads.

Click here for the full guide.

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