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Encourage kids to follow basic safety guidelines online

ST. PAUL -- Summer offers more free time for kids, and that time is often spent online. The Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension encourages parents to continue dialogue with their children regarding safe online behavior. Wh...

ST. PAUL - Summer offers more free time for kids, and that time is often spent online. The Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension encourages parents to continue dialogue with their children regarding safe online behavior. Whether kids use the Internet for social networking, games or other apps, can follow these guidelines:
• Beware of sharing too much: Once they’re in the hands of others, emails, social media posts and photos can go just about anywhere - even if they disappear after a few seconds.
• Keep your guard up during games and chats: The casual nature of these activities lend themselves to innocent sounding questions from strangers.
Kids should guard all private information, such as their name, age, school and hometown.
• Follow the Golden Rule online: Don’t say it about someone else if you wouldn’t want it said about you.
• Avoid meeting unknown people: Treat any requests of this nature with extreme caution.
Parents cannot watch their kids’ every move, but they can help them develop critical thinking habits for safe online interaction.
“Ask [kids] what they’d do if they’re playing a game or chatting and someone asks them how old they are, or what school they attend,” said Minnesota Internet Crimes Against Children Education Coordinator Karina Hedinger. “This opens the door for parents to help children rehearse safe responses without it feeling like a lecture.”
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children offers many tips for children and conversation starters for parents.

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