Hogansville Police offers tips to parents/guardians for online safety

HOGANSVILLE, Ga. (WRBL) – The Hogansville Police Department (HPD) is celebrating Internet Safety Day by spreading awareness about the dangers of internet an offers tips on how to keep children safe while using the internet.

HPD provided the following acronym SMART to help parents/guardians remember safe practices when children are using the internet.

  • S Set-up devices, accounts and passwords. The police department says it is crucial that guardians understand how to setup a device. Whether it is your child’s cellphone or gaming console. By thoroughly understanding how to set up your children’s device, will allow parents/guardians how maintain a balance between protecting their children and allow them to explore the internet. The police department noted it is also equally important to understand how to utilize parental controls and similar security features.

  • M Monitor online use. HPD said that monitoring children’s online use is not about spying but instead the goal is creating a balance between allowing your child to explore but also protecting them from harmful content. Through creating a balance and focusing on communicating to your child, HPD says parents can empower their children to navigate the internet safely.

  • A Approve Apps and Games. Parents approving apps and games are important because it creates a safe environment that HPD says “fosters safety, security, healthy development, trust and communication. It’s more than just saying “yes” or “no.” Approving apps and games provides an avenue for open communication about online activities. In addition, when approving or disapproving games the police department said it is crucial for parents/guardians to explain the reasons and potential risks of games and apps to set expectations for future use.

  • R Restrict content/permissions. The police department says it is important for guardians to restrict children’s access to harmful content. Through open communication, utilizing parental control tools and using age-appropriate resources can create a safe environment where children can learn and explore the internet will being protected from potentially inappropriate content.

  • T – Talk and start the conversation/teach. By having open and repeated conversations, police say parents can “equip children with the knowledge skill and confidence” needed to navigate the online world. The police department says parents should treat having conversations with children about internet use as making an investment in their children’s future. Police says guardians can start by adapting conversations about internet use as children age. Try to make the conversation natural and a part of everyday life. Police also advise parents to use open-ended questions and actively listen to their child’s concerns. HPD said parents should also use real life examples to help your child better understand the dangers of the internet and mainly focus on educating your children about safely using the internet and “not scarring them.”

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