Stefanie Thomas, FBI agent & Internet Safety expert, spoke at a PTA event in March about how to keep our children safe with today’s technologies.
Family Technology Boundaries
Have a plan for technology in your home. Ask yourself these questions and use the answers to guide a plan that works for your family.
- How much time per day/week will various technologies be allowed?
- Can social media be accessed from all devices?
- What should children do if they encounter problems/issues/inappropriate content?
- Who gets administrator rights?
- All devices are subject to periodic reviews from parents.
- Children must share passwords with parents.
- No deleting texts.
- Take devices from children at night, and lock out WIFI (after 8pm, for example).
Lessons for Children
Teach children to ask these three questions before sending a post or a picture/video:
- Is this appropriate (in the way I’m dressed, behavior & caption)
- Could I get into trouble for this? (legal, at home, at school)
- Is there anyone I don’t want to see this? (parents, coach, grandparents, friend, teacher)
Consider these things before posting or sending something online, because if you wouldn’t repeat it in front of the classroom or at the dinner table at home it shouldn’t be online either.
Common sense advice for social media & gaming accounts
When setting up a user name or profile
- Avoid profile pictures of your face.
- Use a nickname (avoid incorporating first &/or last name).
- Make account private.
- Leave out personal information on your profile (hobbies, sports, location, age, graduation year).
- Discuss how children know “followers”, and to only friend those you are directly connected to.
- Keep passwords private.
- Don’t post location-based content, i.e. checking in at a location/place.
- Remember that important messages should always be delivered face-to-face.
- Ask yourself if you would say the same thing in person.
- What you intend to send to one person may easily end up on the screens of many. Be mindful that what you share may start private, but messages and photos can be forwarded.
Additional resources for parents
Navigating and facilitating these conversations at home can be tricky, here are some sites that may help: