Many children are raised to know what behaviors are appropriate and inappropriate for the setting they’re in because their parents correct them over time but the same rules don’t always apply when online.
Have you had a conversation with the children in your life about behaviors that are appropriate online? How about what behaviors towards them are appropriate?
A 2018 Pew Research Center report found that 95% of teens have access to a smartphone and 45% of teens say they are online almost constantly.
While parents work to raise children in this digital age, they have a lot to be concerned about: online bullying or harassment, social development, mental stimulation, and privacy and safety.
There are basic online safety tips that are commonly shared:
For your child, the internet can be a fun place to connect with friends, learn, watch videos, meet new people, and play games. Predators know this and stalk chat rooms and social media to connect with the children and try to lure them into inappropriate or dangerous behaviors. According to the 2020 Federal Human Trafficking Report by the Human Trafficking Institute, found that 59% of online victim recruitment in active sex trafficking cases happened on Facebook.
Digital safety is important for everyone to think about regularly. There are tons of innocuous bits of information that, when combined, could pose a threat to the safety of your family.
While it is important for your child to know what behaviors are appropriate for them online, it is equally important to discuss inappropriate behavior directed towards your child. While one or two of these may not mean the person on the other end of the keyboard is dangerous, it’s important to teach your children some indicators of inappropriate behavior online.
Having open conversations and inviting honesty into discussions about your child’s online habits and activities will keep your child smarter and safer. When they have questions or experience some discomfort, they should feel comfortable going to their parents or guardians.
Visit ICE’s Project iGuardian website to learn other ways to keep your child safe from online predators
Starting these conversations can sometimes be difficult, there are a few tips to help start connecting with your children about their internet usage. There are age-appropriate guides that you can search to better fit your family’s structure!
This free 30-minute training developed by ECPAT-USA offers training to help companies combat trafficking.
Follow this bi-weekly podcast for education on trafficking.