While there are many risks online, there are many opportunities. Youth create websites, games, apps, social media platforms, stories, videos and new businesses. So be safe, but strive to inspire your children to create new media, not consume it.
It is important for families to discuss online safety on a regular basis.
- Digital Footprint
- Identity Theft
- Online Bullying and Predators
- Online and Gaming Addiction
- Inappropriate content
Student's Digital Footprint
Everything we put on social media today is likely discovered when applying for college or a job. Whether it is a picture of a child that we take, a friend takes or our student takes, facial recognition may tag it on social media. College admissions and future recruiters may find it. Web sites and applications that claim to remove data should not be trusted. It is never possible to know if text messages or pictures might end up in a screen shot that gets shared on the internet, with school or with friends.
Most photos and videos taken today are tagged by our phones with by GPS. Posted online, they are sometimes scraped by social media sites and run through facial recognition. In addition to social media concerns, there are predators that can use digital data to hurt our children.
SMS, iMessage, email contain about 10% of the information expressed by face to face communication that includes tone and body language. It is easier to bully (even accidentally) or be bullied via messaging because we aren't seeing the other party.
- Consider making a phone call or waiting until face-to-face is possible to have heart-to-heart conversations.
- Wait until the morning to send longer or emotionally-laden emails
California Erasure Law
Using this law is non-trivial, but it is possible for minors to request their content be removed from social media sites.
Teach your children to never divulge personal information online. This includes their name, address, phone number, and location. See 7 Tips to Protect Your Family's Online Identity.
Online and Gaming Addiction
For some people, it is possible for a tech activity to stimulate the creation of dopamine and for individuals to feel withdrawal symptoms when their tech activity is removed. Information about this new type of addiction is available on the internet. School therapists are aware of these issues and can help if you talk to your teacher. At the same time, follow our Parenting Tips, observe what your child is doing, what is youtube videos with him, play her game and take an interest in what she's doing to better understand what is going on. Stay safe, but remember that games and social media are where our youth develop some of their social skills -- they do not have malls to hang out at, etc.
What School Teaches - Digital Citizenship
San Lorenzo Valley schools teach lessons from Common Sense Media's Digital Citizenship Curriculum. Common Sense Media also has resources for parents. We also use CybereCivics from https://www.cyberwise.org/parents.