Internet Safety How to Have The Talk with Your Kids / Public News Service

It’s already been one week since Safer Internet Day, and in case you missed it, the National Parent-Teachers Association is helping families have “the talk” with their kids to lay out ground rules for being online.

Parents can still go to the website saferinternetday.us for guidance on how to facilitate a safe experience when kids use social media or gaming sites.

Carrie Neill, connected ambassador for the national PTA, said their Smart Talk tool encourages parents to give kids a say when setting family rules for technology and mobile devices.

“The Smart Talk tool brings that power to families, to collaboratively discuss, ‘What are we comfortable with? What are the parameters?’ ” Neill explained. “And gives parents some language to work off of, and it gives kids a voice in the conversation.”

The tool encourages parents to explain, for example, who should be considered a stranger online, and to make sure kids know not to give out personal information like their address, school or birthdate online.

The site also preps local PTA groups to raise awareness in their communities.

Christine Soto, a parent and teacher in Acampo, California, said families need to maintain a dialogue on the topic.

“There’s a lot of in-app purchases or places that they ask for information,” Soto pointed out. “Most parents honestly probably don’t even know who their child’s friends are online. It’s just so easy to talk, to just random people, and the kids think it’s harmless. They’re just playing a game. “

The PTA.org/saferinternet site also has links to programs like Create with Kindness, which encourages responsible online behavior and explains how to enable parental controls on TikTok.

Disclosure: National PTA contributes to our fund for reporting on Children’s Issues, Education, Health Issues, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

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