With the myriad online options available, safety experts say it’s essential for parents to talk with their kids about cyber safety and protecting themselves online.
With the school year fast approaching for many local families, NBC 7 took a look at how local families are arming themselves against cyber crimes.
One local family with four children, the Rosenoffs, pointed out that their house includes a TV, a computer, laptop and iPads, iPods and iPhones.
“It does feel overwhelming and honestly, I don’t think there’s ever a way to completely police it,” Kristin Rosenoff said.
Safety experts say that awareness is key because even with certain restrictions and parental-app approval, kids aren’t always completely protected.
Eva Velasquez, president of the Identity Theft Resource Center, said one of the most common mistakes that kids make is oversharing information about themselves, such as their address, school and location.
“Someone on the other end of that app isn’t necessarily going to be a 13-year-old girl in her room singing, but will now get to see your 13-year-old in her room singing,” Velasquez said.
Velasquez recommends first talking with your kids.
“One of the most important things we can do is have that conversation ahead of time, so that they’re prepared when they have to make a choice,” she said.
One resource that helps facilitate that discussion is thesmarttalk.org, which was developed by cyber security experts and the PTA.
Velasquez also recommends giving your kids online time limits and restrictions, like what they can download, and then print a contract.
Rosenoff said it’s that ongoing dialogue that keeps communication open and helps build trust in her family.
“We trust them (our kids), especially when they do come forward to us with different things and then we know that they’re really listening,” she said.