Every June we celebrate Internet Safety Month. Our friends at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children have shared the following toolkit with information and resources you need to protect kids online.
Into the Cloud
Celebrate Internet Safety Month with seasons 1 & 2 of Into the Cloud, NCMEC’s flagship online safety program for children ages 10 and under. Watch here: https://www.netsmartzkids.org/into-the-cloud/.
Online gaming has become increasingly popular with children and adults of all ages and genders in recent years. Keep open communication, especially with older kids and teens about who they are interacting with online. You can learn more at: missingkids.org/netsmartz/topics/gaming.
Social media is a great way to connect and share what’s going on in our lives, but it can also be used for harm, and young people are especially vulnerable. Some people can pretend to be who they’re not.
Have a conversation with your kids about being cautious with people online, especially when pressured into doing something they feel uncomfortable with, like sending personal information, having sexual conversations, or trading pictures.
If someone is making them feel uncomfortable, they don’t have to deal with it – they can block them! They can also report any activity that is making them uncomfortable at CyberTipline.org. Find more social media safety tips here: https://www.missingkids.org/netsmartz/topics/socialmedia.
Your Photo Fate
Livestream videos happen live and therefore are not moderated, meaning explicit, illegal, or other disturbing content may appear on the stream without warning.
There is an assumption that any livestream will disappear after it’s done, but these videos could be recorded and saved, and later posted by users who were watching the initial livestream.
Livestreaming is popular, especially with young people, but the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) has seen increased reports of exploitative content in livestreams, putting children at risk. Learn more: www.missingkids.org/netsmartz/topics/livestreaming.
Sextortion is a type of blackmail. A perpetrator will obtain an inappropriate sexual image or video from a child victim through deceit, coercion, or some other method – and then demand additional imagery or money; threatening to expose the child’s images to their friends, family or public if they do not comply.
Link to video: https://youtu.be/jDqh0LxRzmQ. To learn more about starting the discussion visit: missingkids.org/sextortion. What parents should know: missingkids.org/content/dam/netsmartz/downloadable/tipsheets/sextortion-what-parents-should-know.pdf.
Take It Down
Having nudes online is scary, but there is hope to get it taken down. Since 2019, reports of online child exploitation and sextortion have nearly doubled. NCMEC can help remove explicit images and move forward. If you or someone you know believes their nude or partially nude images, videos, or explicit content depicting them before the age of 18 are circulating on the Internet, visit takeitdown.ncmec.org and get help today. https://takeitdown.ncmec.org/.
Link to video: https://youtu.be/pAaXbBzVdJE.
It’s a great time to review our online behavior and learn how we can stay safer while using the internet. Together we can create a safer online experience for children and empower them to make the right decisions.