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Q. How can I keep my child(ren) safe online? A. In my career in law enforcement, one of the questions I get

asked most frequently is what are some simple things I can do to keep my kids safe using technology? The question actually is very simple to answer. As a parent, be involved in knowing what your children are doing and ask them questions about the technology they use. As an officer, I spent a considerable amount of time working in the field of internet crime and technology-based offenses involving kids. As a School Resource Officer, I encounter this problem almost daily. As a parent, technology affects my children, as well. As I look back on my experiences, I have identified common factors of how children get in trouble with technology. The biggest tip I can give to parents is to be actively involved in what technology children use. The majority of kids have access to some type of tablet or smart device. Internet access is easily at their fingertips. Let’s face it, kids are curious and they talk about the newest sites and applications they’ve come across. Even as adults who utilize social media, we send links to videos, sites or pictures that we find interesting. As a parent, if you allow your child to have a device, set ground rules for what the child can and can’t do with the device. Establish boundaries for kids and stick to them. Taking away use of technology is not the end of the world, even though the child may feel unplugged or disconnected. Sometimes it actually does a child good. Here are some other tips:

» Ask your children about their technology use. » Look at their technology and social media usage. » Research applications and websites you aren’t familiar with. » Inspect pictures and videos on a device. » If you notice changes in behavior of your children, ask about

their online life. It may be a warning sign.

Finally, if you do find something troubling or suspicious, contact law enforcement and speak to a professional about what you find concerning. In addition, there are many resources for parents that provide great tips on keeping kids safe online:

3

The number of years the average person spends on the toilet. www.funfactz.com/top

18

The area in square feet that your skin will cover if laid flat. www.funfactz.com/random-facts

1000

The number of birds that die a year by smashing into a window. www.funfactz.com/top

300

The length of a tunnel a mole can dig in one night. www.strangefacts.com/facts1.html

1460

» www.netsmartz.org/Parents » www.ncmec.org - National Center for Missing & Exploited Children » www.wiredsafety.org » www.connectsafely.org » www.cyberbullying.us » www.cyberbullying.org/resources/parents Senior Officer Bryan Fischer is an SRO with the Helena Police Department.

Have a question?

coleen@youthconnectionscoalition.org We cannot guarantee all questions will be published; however, we will do our best to respond to all questions submitted.

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December 2015

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The number of dreams an average person has each year. www.strangefacts.com/facts1.html

100

The number of times per second the earth is hit by lightning. uselessfacts.net/page/2

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