IL Attorney General encourages Internet safety on Safer Internet Day

CHICAGO (WCIA) — Tuesday is Safer Internet Day across the U.S. and Illinois’ Attorney General is encouraging parents and caregivers to discuss Internet safety with their children.

“Safer Internet Day aims to not only create a safer internet, but also a better internet, where everyone is empowered to use technology responsibly, respectfully, critically and creatively. Today and everyday is an opportunity to talk to children about safe and healthy online behavior,” Raoul said. “I will continue to advocate for online safety and to help protect children and young adults from the physical and mental health harms that result from dangerous online activity.”

Raoul said parents, caregivers and educators play the largest role protecting children online and helping them develop healthy online habits. He encouraged those people to have the uncomfortable conversation about topics like youth exploitation, privacy violations and requests for explicit content.

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He also recommended teaching children to think critically about the content they consume, the followers they accept and information they share. They should be encouraged to take breaks, avoid resharing inappropriate messages or photos and to identify trusted adults who they can turn to for help and support.

Families can help children stay safe online by using what Raoul called the SMART approach:

  • S – Setting up the accounts and passwords on childrens’ devices

  • M – Monitor their online use connections

  • A – Approve their apps and games

  • R – Restrict their content and permissions

  • T – Talk to them often and teach them always

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