Care Sharing

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Careful What You Share

All it takes is a few moments on Google, and a few more skimming over social media sites, to realize a wealth of private information about your or your teen can be just a few clicks away. The reason? We share it.

From locations, to shopping and food habits, to our weekly schedule, we have become a culture that shares a ton of information online. But having grown up in a world with prevalent technology and social media, many kids and teens may not understand what is and isn’t safe to share.

Talk to your kids about the potential threats. The National Children’s Advocacy Center offers a few tips to keep kids safe:

The basics

  • Never post personal information, such as a cell phone number, home number, home address or your location on any social networking site or through mobile apps such as Snapchat or Instagram.
  • Never meet in person with anyone first met on the Internet. Tell your kids that if someone asks to meet, they should tell you right away. Stress that people may not always be who they claim to be online.
  • Talk to your children about sharing pictures online, and make clear guidelines about what is and isn’t appropriate. Also, be careful of revealing potential locations in photos (such as a home address displayed in the background).
  • Nothing is truly private
  • Remind kids that everything can be saved and captured via screen grab, so they should be extremely careful what they post or say — even in seemingly private chat conversations with friends.
  • Teach your children to be vigilant about who they are friends with and follow online. If they’re a nuisance, or often post or share inappropriate content, remove them.
  • Never, under any circumstance, should your child share their password with anyone other than a parent or guardian.
  • Research how the privacy settings of the various social networking sites used by your children work. Make sure they’re set at a level your family feels safe and comfortable with.

Manners matter

  • Stress manners to your children, even when communicating online. If it’s not something they would say to another person’s face, they shouldn’t text it or post it online. The seeming anonymity of the Internet is no excuse.
  • Let your kids know that if anything makes them feel uncomfortable online, be it while gaming, chatting or texting, they should talk with a patent or guardian immediately.
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