EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – Yesterday was “Safer Internet Day.” The day promotes a safer and better environment online. Staying safe while surfing the web isn’t easy, especially for kids. First News at Nine’s Max Cotton share tips on staying safe online.
Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve moved even more of our lives online.
Though technology makes it possible to connect while staying away from each other, it also comes with some dangers.
UW-Eau Claire Criminal Justice Professor Justin Patchin co-directs the Cyber Bullying Research Center.
Patchin said, “Safer internet day is an opportunity to have a conversation with your kids about what apps they’re using, what sites they’re visiting, what messaging tools they use to connect with their friends.”
Eau Claire Police Officer Josh Miller warns that keeping your kids safe on the internet requires more than a conversation.
“I don’t think it’s possible to be too invasive in your kids to internet activity, to know their passwords, know their social media accounts, monitor their chats, looking over their shoulder. This is a time where you can’t be too safe,” said Miller.
Patchin says kids are more susceptible to online predators because their brains are still developing, which means they may not think twice when posting.
“The desire to, you know, go viral, write, or draw attention to your particular page, kids might be more willing to take more risks than open themselves up to potential victimization,” said Miller.
He has a simple message for kids.
“Don’t post anything online that you wouldn’t want other people to see, right. So, I mean, if it’s something that you would tell your friends in a public setting, if it’s something you would share or say to them in front of other adults if you wouldn’t be concerned if your parents were in on that conversation or saw that content, you’re probably fine,” said Miller.
Patchin says setting your profile to “private” doesn’t ensure your posts will stay hidden.
In Eau Claire, Max Cotton, First News at Nine.
Officer Miller also reminds people to be very careful when giving out personal information online, including passwords and bank account information.