Tips to keep your kids safe online - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Tips to keep your kids safe online

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There was a time when back-to-school supplies only included pencils and paper, but today's kids are outfitted with things like e-tablets and smartphones.  So how can you make sure your kids are safe while they're online?

In some classrooms like Kathryn Godwin's 7th and 8th grade classroom at the Epstein School in Sandy Springs, traditional desks are being swapped out for new, more technologically-friendly desks.  

"It's going to be a lot more user-friendly in terms of working with the laptops than the old desks, where they might slide just a little bit," said Godwin.  "And it does let us configure the desks much more easily for different sorts of instruction."

The Epstein School supports blended instruction, where the teacher is a facilitator and children are empowered to guide their education in a technology-driven world.

"Technology is no longer an add-on," said Stan Beiner, who heads The Epstein School.  "It's part of what kids do.  It's a tool that is used all the time."  

Ben Halpert is an information security expert who helped guide the staff and faculty at Epstein.  He says before you hand over a laptop, cell phone, or any piece of technology to a child, you've got to teach them how to use it.

"We would never take a child to the edge of a curb, hold their hand and say, ‘Just go,'" said Halpert, who owns Cyber Savvy Kids.  "No, we teach them to look left, look right, make sure no cars are coming, and then go.  So the same should be with technology and at the youngest of ages."

Halpert says you should start by doing your research.  Ask about specific parental controls, and if your child is involved in social media, make sure you are friends with them and know their passwords.  Just in case they try to dupe you by setting up two different profiles, he says Google will usually reveal all.  Halpert says you should use it to search for additional information about your child.  

Finally, Halpert says you've got to become an expert on the devices your family owns.

"You as a parent really do need to stay involved," said Halpert.  "Just like you wouldn't let your child go to a friend's house that you didn't know or had never met before, you shouldn't do that with technology either."  

Halpert says you should also make sure you're around when your kids are online.

For more tips on keeping your child safe online, click here for a link to his website.  To get a free download of Halpern's eBook, The Savvy Cyber Kids at Home: The Family Gets a Computer, text your first name and email address to (404) 586-4170. 

More info:
Savvy Cyber Kids website

Savvy Cyber Kids on Facebook

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