Tips to Ensure Online Safety and Summertime Fun

Internet Safety Month offers the unique opportunity to remind kids with more free time and families gearing up for getaways to STOP.THINK.CONNECT. and stay safer and more secure online. The kick-off to summer brings increased Internet and mobile device use. National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) has teamed up with ConnectSafely to advise digital citizens of all ages to take simple, actionable security measures, understand the consequences of their behavior and enjoy the Internet’s incredible benefits.    

“June is a great time to appreciate the warm weather and to consider how the season impacts our online lives. The Internet greatly enhances our summer experiences as we use technology to plan, enrich and share our activities,” said Michael Kaiser, NCSA’s executive director. “To support Internet Safety Month, we partnered with ConnectSafely, a leader in helping families online, and tapped their wisdom to help parents and kids learn solid online safety measures. NCSA also has some user-friendly STOP.THINK.CONNECT. tips for family travel. With some smart practices, you can help protect yourself, your family and the extended online community while using the Internet with greater confidence.”

“ConnectSafely is pleased to be part of this campaign to help everyone – young and old alike ‒ have a fun and safe summer,” said Larry Magid, ConnectSafely’s CEO. “Besides 'wear sunscreen to avoid overexposure to the sun,’ our advice this summer is to employ security tools to protect your devices and follow our simple tips to control your online exposure and minimize risks.”
 

ConnectSafely’s Summertime Tips for Online Safety and Security 
For many kids, summer vacation has long been associated with hanging out with friends and playing games. That is still true. Now, however, an increasing amount of that free time is facilitated by computers and mobile devices ‒ social networking sites and apps allow young people to stay in close touch with classmates and family even from afar. But some thought needs to be given to ensuring that Internet-based activities remain safe and secure and that young people maintain control over who has access to their personal information.

Smart Socializing
Whether posting pictures on Snapchat, posing questions on Ask.fm or using any of the thousands of other social apps and sites, young people love to share. Internet Safety Month is a good time to remind them to think about what they are sharing.

  • Share with care: Sharing provocative photos or intimate details online, even in private emails, can cause problems later on. Even people you consider friends can use the information you share online against you.
  • Be nice online: Or at least treat people the way you want to be treated. If someone is mean to you, try not to react, definitely don’t retaliate and use privacy tools to block the meanies.
  • Be smart about pictures: It is fun to share pictures and, yes, they can sometimes be wacky. But you never know who might see them or how they might affect you in the future.
  • Avoid in-person meetings with people you don’t know: It is not necessarily bad to interact with strangers online, but be careful with what information you share and very careful (by letting someone else know or having someone accompany you) before agreeing to meet someone you do not know.

Here are more Social Web Tips for Teens and for Parents too. See NCSA’s newly created, research-based Privacy Tips for Teens.

 

Gaming Safety for Parents and Kids
Regardless of what platform they use, kids are increasingly connected when they play games online. Parents and kids should be aware of what information might be shared online with other players.

  • Chat carefully: If a game allows you to chat with other players, be careful about the information you disclose.
  • Don’t overdo it: Video games can be fun, but so are physical activity, socializing in person, reading and plain old downtime. It is a good idea to balance summertime activities.
  • Know what your kids are playing: Parents should check video games’ ratings and read reviews to be sure they are appropriate for children. The Entertainment Software Rating Board provides game ratings, and Common Sense Media provides reviews of many games, movies and TV shows. 

Here are some more “Tips for Smart Videogaming.
 

Connected Kids and Phones
Many kids carry phones which can help them stay connected and reach their families in emergencies. However, smartphones also run apps for interactive games that can share locations and so much more.

  • Know the apps: Be aware of the apps your kids use. Make sure they are only downloaded from reputable app stores and check their privacy disclosures and settings.
  • Be location savvy: Apps that share your location with friends and family can be great, but be sure only the right people can find out where you are.
  • Lock your phone: Make sure that you have a secret PIN (personal identification number), a password, fingerprint setting or other security measures in place so that only you can access your phone.
  • Know how to locate and wipe your phone: There are free tools like Apple’s iCloud Find my Phone and Google’s Android Device Manager that will help you find your device (if it’s turned on) or wipe it clean if it’s lost.

For more cell phone safety tips, see Tips for Smart Cellphone UseA Parents’ Guide to Mobile Phones and the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Safety Tips for Mobile Devices.


This article was originally published June 1, 2015. Republished with permission from NCSA. To read the full article, visit https://staysafeonline.org/about-us/news/june-is-internet-safety-month-the-national-cyber-security-alliance-ncsa-and-connectsafely-share-tips-to-ensure-online-safety-and-summertime-fun


About NCSA
National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) is the nation's leading nonprofit public-private partnership promoting the safe and secure use of the Internet and digital privacy. Working with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), private sector sponsors and nonprofit collaborators to promote cybersecurity awareness, NCSA board members include representatives from ADP, AT&T, Bank of America, Comcast Corporation, EMC Corporation, ESET, Facebook, Google, Intel, Logical Operations, McAfee, Microsoft, PayPal, PKWARE, Inc., Raytheon, Symantec, Verizon and Visa. Through collaboration with the government, corporate, nonprofit and academic sectors, NCSA's mission is to educate and empower a digital citizenry to use the Internet securely and safely, protect themselves and the technology they use, and protect the digital assets we all share.  For more information on NCSA, please visit staysafeonline.org/about-us/overview/.

About ConnectSafely 
ConnectSafely.org is a Silicon Valley, Calif.-based nonprofit organization dedicated to educating users of connected technology about safety, privacy and security with research-based safety tips, parents' guidebooks, advice, news and commentary on all aspects of tech use and policy. Find us at ConnectSafely.orgTwitter.com/ConnectSafely and Facebook.com/ConnectSafely


Related Resources:

Share My Lesson’s Internet Safety collection https://sharemylesson.com/collections/internet-safety

Infographic – Keeping Up With Generation App: NCSA Parent/Teen Online Safety Survey

Rethink Cyber Safety Rules and the "Tech Talk" With Your Teens

Microsoft study: Four in 10 U.S. teens encounter cruel treatment online

Fast Facts – Keeping Up With Generation App: NCSA Parent/Teen Online Safety Survey

Research Findings Summary – Keeping Up With Generation App: NCSA Parent/Teen Online Safety Survey 

Looking for a great resource on cyber careers? Check out NCSA's resource for parents!