Keeping Your Family Cyber Safe

Q: What is the most important step you can take to protect your kids in their online experience?
A: Maintain an active relationship with them based on ongoing dialogue of respectful, clear instruction and questions about their life experiences, online and elsewhere.
Q: What can parents do to become more cyber-savvy?
A: 1. Attend the free seminar this Thursday evening provided by the LA Attorney General’s office.   7 pm at The Chapel in the Oaks at 9611 Siegen Lane.  (Topics include: * Cyber-bullying – How to recognize the signs and what to do * Viruses, spyware, trojans and phishing * Online games – Are they safe? * Social network sites like Facebook and Twitter * Texting, sexting and t.m.i. (too much information))
2. Spend some time every week or two by yourself on the sites where your kids spend time and imagine you were their age, exploring with their curiosity and desires.
3. Spend time with your kids during their online experience.  Ask them to show you what they like to do on their sites and why they like it.  LISTEN and learn!
Q: What are the most common mistakes parents make regarding their kids and their virtual world?
A: 1. Assuming their kids will make good choices and are doing fine without their direct guidance.
2. Assuming that simply making a few rules about online behavior will be sufficient to protect their kids.
3. Allowing themselves to let intimidation or distaste keep them from experiencing and learning the ins and outs of their kids online hangouts and habits.
Q: What other resources are available to help parents improve their IQ (Internet Quotient)?
A: Click on the “media” tag in the far right column of my site to see all the posts in my blog related to media issues.
Here are several additional websites that can help in various ways…
http://www.netlingo.com/acronyms.php (keep in mind how quickly online lingo becomes outdated when you consult this one)

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