Cyber Safety, Smartphones, and… Garfield?

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March 12, 2020

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This is great info, thanks for giving me some ideas on how to start a dialogue with my teen!


Sharon M.

Parent VIP Member

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Josh's presentation about social media was unbelievably fantastic. Our students learned so much about what kids should and shouldn't be doing. The fact that it is such a thoughtful process made it all worthwhile.


Director of College Advising

Educator Webinar Attendee

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This webinar is a very helpful eye-opener on the apps that are popular with my students.


Irene C.

Educator Webinar Attendee

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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 students 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.

Center for Cyber Safety and Education’s 3 tips for keeping students safe online 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.

Watch or listen to the full interview or read a summary of the tips below: 

Tip 1: Parents need to know what apps their students 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 students 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 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 You can download free presentations for parents and kids that include more online safety tips for schools and community organizations.

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