Last Friday, the PA hosted a talk with Darryl Holcombe, Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office Senior Inspector on internet crimes against kids. Darryl was so knowledgeable and approachable and gave some great advice to parents:
- Routinely talk to your children about internet safety and their digital footprint. Ideally this starts before they have a personal device to use, but it keeps evolving, so keep talking. Remind them always to think before they post. This Digital Citizenship site was recommended by a parent to help with this dialogue.
- Be familiar with the apps your child is using. Download them on your own device and learn how to navigate through them, including parental control features
- Common Sense Media is a great resource for guidance on apps and websites.
- Have your children use their devices in a common area of the house.
- Think about investing in a parent monitoring program for devices. Some mentioned were OurPact, Life360, and Bark. There are ways around these, but they are one layer of protection.
- Use time in the car together to have discussions about digital citizenship. You can use scenarios: “What would you do if a stranger messaged you either on a social media site or while gaming and said ‘click this link’?” or “What would you do if your friend said he/she/they met a stranger online and they want to meet?” Explain that if someone online is asking for any information or things that seem unnecessary, they should tell you immediately.
- Consider having your child sign a Technology Agreement with specific terms that you agree to. For example, some basics could include giving the device back to a parent by a certain time of night (8pm) and making sure a parent always knows their child’s passwords. There are many examples online of Technology Agreements.
- Cyberbullying continues to be a prevalent issue. Remind your children that it’s important to tell a trusted adult if they see/read any bullying online.
- Learn how to turn off map/location finding on things like Snapchat and encourage your kids to leave them off.
Darryl was kind enough to share his email address in case parents had additional questions: firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to having Darryl return to Saklan to talk to our kids about internet safety as well. Thank you, Darryl!