The Oregon FBI is issuing additional tips on building a digital defense as kids head back to school online.
Recently, the FBI talked about steps that parents could take to ensure they are prepared to manage their child’s online environment in the new virtual world. Topics included platform safety, data retention and privacy matters. This installment addresses ways parents can help their children learn to be safe as they navigate cyber school.
The FBI offers an easy way to help parents start those discussions about appropriate online behavior and the damage that they can do to themselves and others if they make poor choices. The FBI has a cyber citizenship program called Safe Online Surfing, or SOS, to teach kids in third through eighth grade about safe and responsible internet use. The interactive, game-based program emphasizes the importance of cyber safety topics such as password security, smart surfing habits and the safeguarding of personal information.
This free program can be used by families at home or by teachers in the schools. Kids can work at their own pace to complete the island activities and don’t have to finish in one sitting. The FBI does not keep individual student data. For more information about the SOS program, go to sos.fbi.gov.
For those with teens in the family, here are some other steps to take:
• Make sure you know what apps are on all the devices in your home.
• Check your child’s devices and accounts regularly. Parents should have the passwords to every device and every app or social media platform the student is using.
• Make clear your expectations about appropriate behavior and privacy.
• Make sure your kids keep passwords and PINs a secret from classmates. Even friends could give your password away or use it in ways you don’t want.
• Make sure they set their privacy settings to the highest levels on all devices and social media accounts. Emphasize that they should only share their thoughts and appropriate photos with friends – not friends of friends or complete strangers.
The FBI also said Oregon is fortunate to have an effective program to help kids deal with cyber bullying and other threats. It’s called Safe Oregon, and it is a program that brings law enforcement and school officials together to help kids. People can report cyber bullying to Safe Oregon online at www.safeoregon.com. There’s also information on that website about other ways people can report concerns by calling, texting or emailing.