The Center for Cyber Safety and Education, a 50(1)c(3) nonprofit, teaches innovative lessons about online safety for kids, adults, and even seniors.
The organization has the exclusive global rights to use Garfield, the famous orange cat, to talk to young students about staying safe online. Garfield’s Cyber Safety Adventures program is designed to teach kids good online habits now, instead of helping them break bad habits later. Garfield’s creator Jim Davies works with the Center to create cartoons, comic books, posters, and more for the interactive lessons.
SmartSocial.com Founder Josh Ochs recently spoke with the Center for Cyber Safety and Education’s Director Patrick Craven. He shared three tips for keeping your kids safe, no matter what apps or phones they are using.
Tip 1: Parents need to know what apps their kids are on
You don’t need to “stalk” your students’ accounts and embarrass them, but you should follow them to see what they are doing. If you see something questionable, then have a private conversation with them. It’s important to understand how each app works and what your students are doing when they are online. This will help you to better communicate with your students as well as monitor their online behavior.
Tip 2: Don’t just tell your kids what to do
We’ve all heard a kid ask “why?” when we tell them to do something. Instead of defaulting to, “because I said so,” teach your students why they need to watch what they post online, as well as what pictures they are sharing and the comments they make. By helping them to understand what staying safe looks like and how you are there to help, you can have a meaningful conversation that actually leads to safer practices for your students and yourself.
Tip 3: Be a good role model
Students don’t respond well to “do as I say, not as I do.” Watch what you are doing online and the amount of time you spend online. If you are giving your students rules that you don’t bother to follow, why would they? When having a conversation with your kids, make sure you put your phone down. Institute no phone zones and social media-free dinners. Model the behavior you want to see from your students and let them follow your lead. Teach them how to be engaged in the world by being engaged yourself.
For more information about the Center for Cyber Safety and Education, go to iamcybersafe.org. There you can download free presentations for parents and kids that include more online safety tips for schools and community organizations.