June 17, 2019
More than 200,000 children go online for the first time every day. As they enter this brave new world of technology, kids are faced with real dangers such as cyberbullying, identity theft, and online predators. Research shows children whose parents and guardians regularly talk to them about online safety are more likely to exhibit responsible behavior when using social media, online gaming, texting, and internet activities.
The problem is, many parents and guardians are uncomfortable or unprepared to talk to children about their online lives. Thus, children may be vulnerable to bullies and predators.
Alpine Communications recognized the growing need for internet safety education with the rising adoption of connected devices more than a decade ago. Sara Hertrampf, Alpine Communications Sales and Marketing Manager, began teaching workshops both at Alpine and in the community to promote safe online behavior. Hertrampf presented internet safety at the Clayton County Extension Farm Safety Day in May. Hundreds of local 4th-graders experience safety topics ranging from internet, fire, and food to firearm, animal, and electrical safety.
Hertrampf described how children are evolving in their use of internet-connected devices and adoption of social media. “Year-after-year, more 9-10-year-olds that are attending Farm Safety Day have accounts on social media platforms intended for teens or adults, such as Facebook, Snapchat, TicTok, and Instagram. The increasing instances of kids being cyberbullied and approached by strangers when using these platforms are alarming. It’s our goal as community connectors to lead the way in teaching kids, parents, educators, and hometown helpers how to be safe online.”
Protecting the safety and wellbeing of children online is not only the parents’ responsibility; it’s up to all of us as digital citizens. Collectively we can create an environment where children can connect the way they need to for education and entertainment without fear of harm or exploitation.
Parents, grandparents, and guardians, Alpine Communications encourages you to communicate with your children about what they’re doing online. Set ground rules for what types of sites kids can visit, apps they can download, and when they can have access to electronics. Be aware of the sites, games, and apps your children frequent. Ask them to show you how they use them.
Alpine Communications recommends these resources to help you and your children learn online safety together in a fun way.
- NetSmartzKids.org is an interactive website for kids ages 5-10 designed to teach them how to be safer online
- NSTeens.org is an interactive website specifically for teens and tweens
- MissingKids.org/NetSmartz offers free resources for parents, guardians, educators, and communities
The internet connects us all to unlimited opportunities and information. While we may not be able to protect children from every harm they encounter in the world, we can teach them how to make responsible choices when they encounter a problem.Share Your Story →