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Is Your Child Really Safe Online?

Thursday, June 14, 2018

In today’s digital world, children are more exposed than ever to potential threats. Have you ever wondered what exactly your kids are looking at online, whether at home with your Kinetic Internet or on public Wi-Fi? According to the Internet Keep Safe Coalition, 54 percent of children frequently have private conversations with online strangers through instant messaging. More astounding, one-third of young people have also experienced cyberbullying.

With ever-changing technology, how can parents make sure their children are staying safe online? J. Berkshire, Windstream’s Georgia-area president, says, “There are a number of ways to keep your children safe without seeming like you are imposing on their privacy.”

The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) was created to help protect children younger than 13-years-old when engaged in online activities. The federal law requires a parent or guardian to consent to the collection, use and disclosure of their child’s personal information as a way of keeping them safe and secure.

“Even with laws like this in place, we encourage parents to get involved in your child’s online activity,” Berkshire said.

Here are some of his internet safety tips:

  • Keep the computer in a high-traffic area of your home.
  • Establish limits for which online sites children may visit and for how long.
  • Remember that internet technology can be mobile, so make sure to monitor cell phones, gaming devices, tablets and laptops.
  • Bookmark kids' favorite sites for easy access.
  • Know who is connecting with your children online, and set rules for social networking, instant messaging, emailing, online gaming and using webcams.
  • Call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at (800) 843-5678 if you’re aware of the transmission, use or viewing of child pornography online.

According to KidsHealth.org, warning signs of a child being targeted by an online predator include spending long hours online (especially at night), phone calls from numbers you’re not familiar with, and unsolicited gifts arriving in the mail. If your child suddenly turns off the computer when you walk into the room, parents should immediately ask why and begin monitoring their online activity more closely. Finally, withdrawing from home or family life or reluctance to discuss online activities are other warning signs to watch for.

To help parents keep their children safe online, Windstream offers three Shield security packages, ranging from the basic Windstream Shield Lite to the more robust Windstream Shield Premium package. All packages will give you peace of mind and confidence knowing your child’s personal information is protected against malware and antiviruses, personal identity theft and other potential threats.

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