For ParentsFor Teachers

4 Things You Can Do This Internet Safety Awareness Month

By Lynette Owens

June is Internet Safety Awareness month in the U.S., but it’s a great time for everyone everywhere to stop and take a few moments to educate yourself and your family about all matters concerning digital literacy, safety, and responsibility. 

Here are a few things you can do immediatley to help you learn or teach your kids about safe, responsible technology use.  Take 15 minutes to do one of these things this month.  And do them all at some point soon:

1. Change your passwords.

  • Use strong passwords on all online sites and devices AND change them on a regular basis.  Using a strong password alone won’t help if the company who stores them has been hacked.  Change them regularly, too.  Also, advise your kids that they should only share passwords with you and no one else.

2. Be your own privacy guard.

  • Use privacy settings on all sites, and use the strongest setting that still lets you use the site the way you want to.
  • Choose one (or more) site that you currently use for social networking, shopping, or any site that requires you to enter personal information to use it and read their privacy policy.  Be aware of how they are using your personal information so you are not caught by surprise.  If you don’t like what you read, considering quitting that site and removing your or your child’s account. 
  • Even after using privacy settings, remind your kids to only post/share the least amount necessary.  Any information can be shared with outsiders by anyone who sees it.

3. Check your security software.

  • Make sure the security software you are using on any device that connects to the Internet is up-to-date.  If you’re not currently using any on your PC, Mac, or mobile device, make sure you install something, such as those from Trend Micro

4. Be proactive about mobile safety.

  • Mobile devices are great for keeping in touch with family and connecting with friends, but they are a huge responsibility.  From texting while driving, sexting, bullying, and losing the phone altogether, make sure you and your kids are fully aware of the importance of responsible phone use.   Here’s a great checklist from the CTIA (mobile phone industry trade organization) you can use.  It includes talking points and a family agreement:

 Here are some more great tips and resources to use this Internet Safety Awareness month: 

Lynette Owens is Director of Trend Micro’s Internet Safety for Kids and Families (ISKF) program.  After many years in marketing roles and serving for 6 years as Associate VP of corporate marketing for Trend Micro, Lynette founded the ISKF program to help deliver on the company’s vision of making a world safe for the exchange of digital information.

As a pro-technology parent and Internet safety advocate, Lynette spends most of her time raising awareness and educating the public about the safe and responsible use of the Internet, recruiting fellow employee volunteers to get involved around the world, or volunteering her own time in her community.  For more on Lynette see:

Or follower her on Twitter @lynettetowens

Tags :cell phonescyberbullyingdigital citizenshipinternet safetykidsmedia literacyonline privacyonline safetyparentssocial networkingteens

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