Raising Digital Families For Dummies
Safely parenting children in this digital age can be overwhelming. The technology, applications, and devices that your family uses may be unfamiliar to you, but you need to be aware of the challenges and dangers associated with these technologies and know how to protect your children. Teach your kids to protect their identities, make sure they use kid-friendly search websites, and study some teen cyberslang so you know what your kids and their friends are talking to each other about.
Kid-Friendly Search Options
A variety of tools and applications allow kids to safely search the Internet. The following safe search engine options let children browse the Internet without close supervision, while not exposing them to inappropriate content:
Ranger Browser, a free application available for both Android and iOS, replaces the standard web browser on the tablet or mobile phone.
KIDO’Z, a tool available for phones (both Android and iOS), tablets, and computers, provides a free trial, but to fully access the tools, parents must purchase a license of use.
Ask Kids is the child-friendly version of Ask.com, a free search engine designed specifically for children ages 6–12.
KidsClick!, a search engine created by librarians hoping to catalog sites and age-appropriate information for kids, allows children to browse by topic or use a search engine.
Awesome Library, a web-based search engine designed to provide kids with a safe place to find educational resources, provides kids with only carefully reviewed search results.
Dib Dab Doo and Dilly Too provides kids with a Google-based search engine that contains safety filters. This site also provides a catalog of pre-screened links on topics ranging from news to nature.
CantUFind.com uses a prescreened directory of resources to allow children to search the Internet or browse a directory according to categories.
Sweet Search designed for use by students, provides search results that have been evaluated by experts before appearing on the site.
Quintura Kids, a children’s search engine, handpicks the sites that appear in search results and rechecks sites from time to time for safety.
KidRex, a free browser-based search engine powered by Google Custom Search, uses Google SafeSearch to provide results that focus on kid-related web pages.
Reduce the Risk of Child Identity Theft
Most adults probably don’t realize that children can be victims of identity theft. The following tips can help decrease the risk of your child’s identity being stolen from online activity:
Remind your children to never share identifying information, such as their full birth date, online.
Teach children to never share their Social Security number online.
Teach your children to identify phishing e-mails and to not respond to or click through their links.
Teach your teens to look for https in URLs at sites when shopping online to ensure that they’re providing credit card information through a secure site.
Ask your teens not to do any online banking or shopping on public computers, via their phones, or when using a shared Wi-Fi connection.
Consider subscribing to both computer and identity monitoring services.
Install antivirus software on your computer, tablets, and smartphones.
Remind your children to protect laptops and phones against theft or loss, especially when transporting such devices in a backpack or school tote.
Ask your children to use password protection on all devices and remind them to log out of sites and devices.
Teach your children to not click sidebar and pop-up ads when they are online.
Ask children to not create e-mails and profile names that include identifying information such as birthdates, addresses, or Social Security numbers.
Teach kids to come to you immediately if a site asks them to provide personal information.
Remind children to never share passwords or store them in an easy-to-find location.
Teach children how to create strong passwords and avoid reusing passwords for multiple accounts.
Ask teens to not store sensitive information on laptops or phones.
Ask your children to not accept Friend requests from people they don’t know.
Talk to your children about identity theft just like you talk to them about other risks.
Get Hip to Cyberslang
Kids have their own crypto-shorthand, or cyberslang, that often appears in the form of an acronym. Parents need to recognize these code words to help protect their children.
A/S/L: A request to share age, sex, and location.
ASLP: A request to share age, sex, location and a picture.
CD9: Code 9 to indicate that parents are around.
CFS: Care for secret?
F2F or F/F: A request to meet face to face.
FYEO: For your eyes only.
GNOC: Get naked on camera.
HSWM: Have sex with me.
IPN: I’m posting naked.
IRL: In real life.
KB: Kiss back.
KOL: Kiss on the lips
KPC: Keeping parents clueless.
LMIRL: Let’s meet in real life
NIFOC: Naked in front of computer.
NP: Nosey parents; a warning that parents may be nearby.
P911: A warning that parents are coming.
PAL: A warning that parents are listening.
PANB: A warning that parents are nearby.
PAW: Parents are watching.
POS: A warning that parents are over the shoulder of the person typing.
RUMOF: Are you male or female?
TAW: A warning that teachers are watching.
WTGP: Want to go private? (A request to move to a private chat room.)
WUF: Where are you from?
WYRN: What’s your real name?