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Back to School Time Means Online Safety Time

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It’s August which for parents (and kids) means it is back to school time. It can be easy to reminisce about your school days—passing notes to the cute girl or boy in class, late-night study sessions with friends, or playing tag on the playground.

But your kids’ school experience is way different from when you were in school. Snapchat, Facebook, and text messaging have replaced those folded handwritten notes. Educational apps have replaced flash cards. A lot of your kids have their own smartphone or are probably asking for them.

Your kids are growing up as digital natives, with technology playing a part in almost every aspect of their lives. In a study conducted earlier this year, McAfee found that 54% of teens and tweens spend more than 10 hours online per week and over 60% use either Snapchat, YouTube or Instagram on a daily basis.

And while our kids may be digitally savvy, McAfee found that while 90% of tweens and teens believe their parents trust them to do what is right online, almost half (45%) would change their online behavior if they knew their parents were watching. So it’s critical that we stay one step ahead of our kids.

With all this technology available, there comes new responsibilities for us as parents. It’s important that we take the time to teach our children how to safely navigate the digital world. Here’s some ways to protect your kids online:

  • Turn off GPS services. Encourage your child to disable this option to keep their location invisible to strangers.
  • Enable privacy settings. This is something we should all do and the McAfee study found that over 1/3 of youth did not use these on their social networking profiles.
  • Discuss the reality of cyberbullying. In the McAfee study, 87% of kids have witnessed cyberbullying and 24% said they would not know what to do if they were cyberbullied.
  • Teach them what is appropriate to share. 50% of tweens and teens share their email address, while 30% post their phone number and a whopping 14% posted their home address.

To help keep our kids safe online, McAfee and HP have teamed together to promote online safety during the Back to School season —and give you a chance to win prizes. To learn more, go to www.BTStips.com to enter to win!

For more tips, like McAfee on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.

Cheers to a safe, fun school year!

Robert Siciliano is an Online Security Expert to McAfee. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked! Disclosures.

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