Posts Tagged ‘ internet safety ’

Back-to-School Season: Tips to Prevent Cyberbullying

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

little-girl-computerAs your kids head back to school, they will make new friends, reconnect with old friends, and possibly encounter cyberbullies, bullies who use technology (computers, cell phones) to belittle, attack, and harass other kids. reached out to Marian Merritt, a tech-savvy mother of three and Internet Safety Advocate and advisor for Norton, the anti-virus software company, for tips on how parents can prevent and deal with cyberbullying.  Marian is also the author of Norton’s “Family Online Safety Guide,” a free guide on how to protect children online, and the Editor-in-Chief of Norton’s Family Resource website, which offers free tips about Internet security.  Read her advice below.


Although most parents worry about strangers approaching their kids online, the most common online danger to befall kids is cyberbullying. It’s common for 20% of kids to experience some form of online harassment and receive hateful, insulting messages from social networks, emails, instant messages, and videos. Cyberbullying is very painful for anyone to experience and just responding to a mean email with another verbal volley can also turn the victim into a cyberbully and escalate the cyberbullying and. Find information cyberbullying at and

Preventing Cyberbullying

1- Ask if your school’s bullying policy includes an online bullying policy.

2- Talk to your kids about remaining nice and courteous when they’re talking to others online, even if they can’t see them on the computer via a webcam.

3- Explain that even if you type nice things on the computer, someone else can change what you type so it says something different. Role play how that would make him feel if this happens.

4- When they finish using the computer (at school, at a friend’s house, or at home), always be sure to log out. This will prevent anyone from posting anything online, especially on a social network, even if it’s just a “joke.”

5- Tell your kids to never share log-in and password information, not even with a close friend.  If they did, make sure to change the information immediately.

Dealing with Cyberbullying

1- Teach your child not to respond directly or immediately to cyberbully attacks.  Instead…

2- Keep a copy of all the messages sent on a computer or over a mobile phone.  If they include threats of harassment and violence, report the cyberbully to appropriate sources such as the webmaster (if the messages are on a public website) and/or school teachers and administrators.  Be sure to follow up in person and ask for a written plan on how your child’s school will respond to the problem. Most states have laws against this form of abuse and schools have an obligation to address the issue when made aware of the problem. The local police can also help if the dangers are immediate.

3- Make sure your child knows they can talk to you about his feelings. Cyberbullying is an incredibly painful experience and often it’s hard to know which children should feel comfortable confiding in you for support and help.

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May 17 Is National Cyber Safety Awareness Day

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

Boy looking at computerYour growing child’s cyber safety is important everyday, but take some time today to think more about safeguarding his or her interaction with others online.

Parents must be vigilant in watching what their kids consume online.  Make sure your child isn’t stumbling across questionable photos, traumatic news, and any other content that are more suitable for mature audiences. is a new site dedicated to providing and sharing kid-friendly news while Net Cetera is a goverment-funded resource (online and print) that can help parents understand the changing internet landscape.

Visit to download a free web browser designed just for kids that filters out adult content or try out United Parents Protection Service, a free software that will help parents monitor their children’s internet usage.

Also, keeping an eye on your kids may help you spot any potential signs of cyberbullying,  a growing trend of online bullying.  My Mobile Watchdog is an app that can help prevent cyberbullying from escalating.

Other resources from to protect your kids:

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Internet Safety for Kids Video Contest

Monday, February 7th, 2011

As cyberbullying and internet safety continues to be a big concern among parents, Trend Micro is sponsoring its second annual Internet Safety for Kids contest with partners such as Facebook, ConnectSafely, Common Sense Media, and Web Wise Kids. 

“What’s Your Story?” is a user-generated video contest about educating on “how  to stay safe when engaging in online activities, including texting, instant messaging, or social networking.”  Anyone over the age of 13 (including parents!) can enter the contest. 

The contest will launch on February 8 and will have three categories: Being a Good Online Citizen, Using a Mobile Phone Wisely, and Maintaining Online Privacy.  Individual and school entries will be awarded with prizes, but just one grand prize winner will receive $10,000.

Visit “What’s Your Story?” for more information about the contest and watch videos from last year’s winners.  You can also watch the video of the 2010 grand prize winner below.


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Net Cetera: A Free Guide for Parents to Protect Kids Online

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Net Cetera Federal Trade CommissionWith the increase in cyberbullying, parents are worried about how to protect their children from harmful messages on computers, cell phones, and smart phones. 

To help parents understand the basics of the electronic world, the Federal Trade Commission has an amazing resource called “Net Cetera,” an online community toolkit with resources in both the English and Spanish languages.

For adults, the toolkit includes a short, straightforward book (“Net Cetera: Chatting with Kids About Being Online”) that provides parents with a glossary on the latest technology terms and practical information on social networking, mobile devices, texting, cyberbullying, sexting, phishing, file sharing, and more.  A CD is also included to help parents communicate with kids about being online.

For kids, the toolkit includes a “Heads Up: Stop Click Think” pamphlet that helps them understand the importance of safeguarding their online privacy.   A DVD is also available to help kids stand up to cyberbullying and protect themselves.

Since it’s debut, the FTC has distributed 1 million copies of Net Cetera to schools and parents.  Request a “Net Cetera” toolkit by mail order from today or print the guidelines from

More Resources from the Federal Trade Commission:

Add a Comment – A Free and Safe Web Browser for Kids

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

kidzui-homeParents no longer have to be concerned about kids accidentally stumbling across inappropriate content on the web.  Kidzui, the leading developer of award-winning Internet browsers for kids ages 3 to 12, is launching an upgraded browser: Kidzui K2.  Like the original Kidzui browser, K2 will provide kids a fun, educational, and secure way to surf the web, but it will be easier to download and navigate, have a faster load response time, be updated for PCs and Macs, and have no membership regulations.

All the web content and websites that are part of the K2 browser experience will be pre-approved by teachers and parents to increase search functionality and improve learning.  According to a representative at Kidzui, more new websites will be approved and added to K2 every month to “keep content fresh, engaging, and always safe for kids.”  K2 will also provide access to and, games and video sites developed by Kidzui.  Plus, parents can choose to monitor their children’s web activity by using parental controls and registering for weekly email reports.

So start hovering by your child whenever he’s on the computer and give yourself some peace of mind.

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