Keeping Kids Safe Online
A recent texting blitz in which smartphone users were notified that someone sent them a compliment serves as a good reminder about the importance of teaching internet safety to kids.
The messages, which contained a link for users to download the IRL social network app, were shown to be a marketing gimmick—not a scam. However, tech experts advise against clicking any link from an unknown sender. Most of these messages are scams that give the perpetrators access to people’s personal information and contact lists.
Children need to be reminded of such safety concerns when going online and sending and receiving texts, experts say. To keep your family apprised of potential digital threats, go to bbb.org/scamtips, where the Better Business Bureau posts information about scams and even sends out fraud alerts.
If your kids need a refresher on internet safety, there are plenty of online sites that can help. Good parent resources include kidshealth.org/en/parents/net-safety.html and justice.gov/criminal-ceos/children-internet-safety.
At minimum, make sure your children understand three key ground rules recommended by the U.S. Department of Justice:
- Do not disclose any personal information (including full name, address, phone number, Social Security number, etc.).
- Do not post your picture on public sites of any kind.
- Never chat with strangers.