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Keeping Kids Safe Online

By Courtney Rasche

We are officially in an age where kids born after 2007 will never have known a world without internet and iPhones in their hands.  Parents are trying to navigate how to parent around these devices, internet safety, keeping up to date on new apps and finding the balance between monitoring and invading privacy.

This is not a new issue, but it has gained massive media coverage recently due to the increase of children’s YouTube videos being hacked and replaced with content that is encouraging children to hurt themselves.

The most important thing you can do to support your children is to let them know you are their safe place, and they can always talk to you if they see something that makes them uncomfortable, scared, sad, or jealous. Our children need to know they have a safe place to talk about their feelings and know they won’t be dismissed or judged.  If they tell you they are sad, let them know you hear them.  Validate their feelings and reiterate that secrets hurt, and they should never feel responsible for keeping any.  How you react to their feelings now, will build their expectations for the future.

Another way to protect our most vulnerable population is to make sure they never come in contact with this content.  Unfortunately, this is extremely difficult without taking away screen time completely. If that’s not an option, try to limit their screen time and whenever possible, be near your children when they are watching YouTube. It’s also good to know which apps they have downloaded, how they work and all their features.

Technology brings us many benefits, but often gives parents more challenges to face.  Let’s all work together and help each other out. It’s up to all of us to keep our children safe.