Back to School? Tips on keeping your kids safe!

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Summer vacation is over and your kids are back in school, facing the threats of cyberbullying, sexting and other online safety dangers. According to a recent poll in the UK, 35% of 11- to 17-year-olds reported being bullied online and four in 10 said they had witnessed others being picked on online.


And according to a study from December 2013, 473,000 6-17 year olds visited an adult website from a PC or laptop, of which 44,000 children were aged 6-11 years old!
And what about Secret, Whisper, Tinder and all the other new anonymous messaging apps that kids are using these days? There’ve been a lot of stories recently in the media about how these apps are being used for anonymous cyberbullying…

So, there is no better time to review online safety practices and tips!

Educate yourself!

Know what is happening online, where your kids go and what they do when they are online. Learn about the possible dangers – cyberbullyingsextingonline predators, and inappropriate content. Understand how these could occur, what warning signs to watch out for, and what the possible consequences could be. Remember that sometimes familiar “frenemies” who use the Internet as a weapon, may be more threatening than strangers.

Communicate with your kids

Explain about the dangers possibly awaiting them online. Tell them they should feel free to come to you whenever they feel uncomfortable – whether they “accidentally” see inappropriate content, receive a request from a stranger or feel threatened by a bully.

Review basic online safety rules

Remind your kids of these basic online safety rules:

For older kids that use social networks, remind them that everything online is permanent. Screenshots, caches and other tools mean that even deleting a post or comment won’t make it go away. Tell them to pause and think through every post.

Did you get them a new laptop, tablet, or smartphone?

Here are some things you should do to keep your kids safer when online:

Dying to share those “back to school” photos on Facebook? Think again…

It’s fun to share your children’s first day of school photos for all your relatives and friends to see. But here are a few things to consider before you do so:

Is your kid a victim of cyberbullying?

And what about their time at school? Are they safe? .

Here some questions to look into with your child’s teachers and administrators:

back to school, online child safety, safe internet use

Why parents hate Social Networking sites [Infographic]

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With over one billion Facebook users worldwide (as of October 2012) it looks like social networks are here to stay. And as of September 2012, the majority of American teens (58%), ages 13-17, now own a smartphone, so they are able to access the internet and social networks 24/7, wherever they are.

Although the jury is still “out” on the positive vs. negative influences of social networks on teens, tweens or even younger kids, there are certainly dangers involving their use. Cyberbullying, the posting of private information or images, and other online safety issues should concern you as parents.

The following infographic provides some statistics about how often your kids are on social networking sites, what they do when they are there, and the possible dangers involved.

This Infographic is courtesy of Parenting Tips and Designed by Graphs

PureSight can help you protect your children online, on Facebook too!

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Facebook, online child safety, safe internet use, safe social networking

Tips for safe internet use

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Online activities are an integral part of your children’s lives and they probably spend many of their waking hours surfing the net. Your children use the Internet to study, browse for information, socialize, or play games. These are all constructive activities and there is no doubt that your children can derive tremendous benefits from the Internet.

But that same wonderful environment can very easily become unhealthy and unsafe and even threatening for your children. The increasingly popular social networking sites, instant messaging programs, and chat rooms are just a few potentially dangerous applications that your children probably use regularly. These and others are often misused by sexual predators and cyber bullies who are lurking around the corner, just a few clicks away.

You can’t keep your children off the Internet but you can try to make it a safer place for them, by following a few practical steps that will keep your children safe online.

First of all, discuss the following safe Internet use rules with your children:

  • Use caution with your personal information
    • Avoid publishing your full name, your school name, home address, email address, mobile or home phone numbers and images, where they are easily accessible by others. Use caution especially with social networking sites such as Facebook or MySpace
    • Never give out personal details to online friends you do not know offline
    • Never post anything you wouldn’t want your parents, teachers, or future employers to see
    • Remember that once you post information online, you can’t take it back. Even if you delete the information from a site, older versions exist on other people’s computers
  • Do not share other people’s personal information or say things that might violate the safety or rights of others, even if you mean it as a “joke”
  • Do not share passwords, user names, account IDs or PINs with anyone besides your parents
  • Do not leave mobile phones or other personal electronics (such as a laptop, iPhone, Blackberry, PDA, etc.) unattended
  • Remember there are impersonators out there who lie about their real identity. Someone you meet on the Internet may not be the right person to share your problems with, not to mention meeting with them face to face
  • Never agree to meet someone you only know online without your parents’ consent
  • Never open messages or attachments from someone you don’t know. It could be a virus, or worse – an inappropriate image or film
  • Only add people as friends on social networking sites and instant messaging programs if you know then in real life. Set privacy settings so that you have to approve people to be added as a friend
  • What you do not do in real life, don’t do on the Internet. This includes all kinds of cyber bulling using text, photos and videos
  • Talk to your parents if something feels inappropriate or makes you feel uncomfortable.

Take measures
In addition to discussing the rules with your children, these are a few proactive steps that you can take:

  • Place the computer in an open area in your home – not in your children’s bedroom. But remember that your children have other means of accessing the Internet and communicating with their peers. Pay attention to other computer and Internet-enabled mobile devices.
  • Set clear expectations for your children, based on age and maturity
    • Is there a limited list of websites your children can visit for their school work?
    • Are they allowed to use a search engine?
    • Are they allowed to visit social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace?
    • Are there sites they are allowed to visit just for fun?
  • Write down the rules and place them next to the computer. Your childrens’ teachers should be able to advise you which sites are appropriate for schoolwork and educational fun
  • Install parental control (content filtering) software, to help you limit the websites your children visit, monitor their online activity, limit the amount of time your children spend online, block file sharing programs and protect them from offensive content or cyber bullies. Pure Sight does all this and moreClick here to find out how.Don’t forget to inform your children that you have done this. Explain to them that that you are not spying on them – you are keeping them safe!
  • Limit and monitor the amount of time your children spend on the Internet, and at what times of day. Too much time online, especially at night, may be a sign of a problem. PureSight can help you do this!
  • Learn Internet basics: If you are not computer savvy, enlist the help of those who are. Learn the basics of the Internet so that your children do not become complacent. Look at blogs and social networking sites to see what children are doing. Go ahead and create your own accounts and play around with it a bit. Get on your children’s friends list
  • Be approachable: try to keep an open communication channel with your children, so that they trust you and feel free to approach and ask you anything or tell you about things that are bothering them. Talk to your children regularly about their online activities.
  • Lead by example. Your children are watching you. Limit your online time and use the Internet and your mobile phone wisely.

If your children are victims of online bullying or aggression, click here to find out what you can do.

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Tips for safe social networking

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With over one billion Facebook users worldwide (as of October 2012) it looks like social networks are here to stay. And as of September 2012, the majority of American teens (58%), ages 13-17, now own a smartphone, so they are able to access the internet and social networks 24/7, wherever they are. And summer vacation means a lot of free time for your kids, no doubt a lot of it will be spent on social networks!

Although the jury is still “out” on the positive vs. negative influences of social networks on teens, tweens or even younger kids, there are certainly dangers involving their use. Cyberbullying, the posting of private information or images, and other online safety issues should concern you as parents. But the good news is that there are quite a few things you can do to provide a safer social networking experience for your kids:

Facebook, online child safety, safe internet use, safe social networking

Online Child Safety during Summer Vacation

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Summer vacation is here and time away from school could mean plenty of extra time online for your kids – a lot of it happening when you’re not around to supervise.

And while the Internet can be a great source of fun and social interaction for your kids, it can also be a dangerous place. And while it feels like home is the safest place for your kids – the more time they spend online the more they could potentially be exposed to inappropriate content (pornography, hate, violence, etc.), cyberbullying, and other online dangers.

Following are some suggestions that will help you keep your kids safe, when online, this summer:

Kids are more likely to meet online friends in person during the summer. This may not always be such a bad idea, if handled correctly. Together with your kids, make sure the following rules are adhered to:

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Setting time limits

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If you are parents to kids who spend some (or most…) of their waking hours online you should be concerned about cyberbullying and online harassment. It is well know that the more time your kids spend online, the more they could be vulnerable to online bullying.

But, isn’t it true that if my kid is home on the computer he is keeping himself busy and I know that he is safe and off the streets?


Cyberbullying can occur anywhere, even in the privacy of your own home where you think your kids are the safest. And studies show a direct correlation between time spent online and the probability your child will be a cyberbullying victim.

  • In a 2005 study of 1,388 adolescents, Hinduja and Patchin (2006) found that time spent online is a positively related predictor of your kid turning into a cyberbullying victim.1
  • A University of Dayton study from 2009 found that “cyberbullying victimization was found to be correlated with the amount of time participants spent online during the week.2
  • And according to, “Adolescents who spent more time online reported that they engaged in cyberbullying or were the victims of cyberbullying more frequently than their peers who spent less time online.”3

So, how many hours should I let my child use the Internet every day?

The following age-appropriate online times are recommended by PureSight’s experts. You may increase the allotted time on the weekend, or allow extra time as a reward.

Toddlers/Pre-school: up to 30 minutes per day with parental supervision.

Elementary School: 30-45 minutes of play time, with parental supervision. Allot extra time for school work, if necessary.

Junior High/Middle School: An hour per day during the week, with additional time allowed for school work.

High School: Two hours per day, on average. Additional time should be allotted for homework and extracurricular activities.

OK… I understand it is important to limit the time my kids spend online, but does it matter what time of day they are online?


More often than not, cyberbullying occurs late at night. So it is probably a good idea to limit your child’s surfing times to daytime or early evening hours.

PureSight helps you keep your kids safe!
With PureSight you can easily limit your kids’ online time, and create separate age-appropriate profiles for each one of your children, on any device! Learn more..

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Is it Spying?

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OR Is there such a thing as too intrusive when it comes to monitoring kids’ online lives?

As parents we usually know where our kids are each day, who they’re with, and what the are doing – in the “physical” world. But in the online world, which is where our kids spend an increasing percentage of their waking hours, we often know very little about their whereabouts or doings – and the dangers our kids face online, are no less daunting than the dangers they are exposed to as they travel in the “real” world.

In fact, a recent study found that cyberbullying, which is the same as bullying but online, can be as harmful as physical violence, causing kids to think about skipping school or even consider suicide and according to a recent Pew Internet and American Life Project report 95% of American teens use the internet, from a computer at home, a tablet or most probably their Smartphone.

Most parents only realize something is wrong after the fact, when their child suddenly has mood changes and seems upset, or in the worst tragic extreme – their child has committed suicide. To avoid finding out when it’s too late – the natural conclusion would be – hey, we need to be aware of what our kids are doing online! But wouldn’t that be an invasion of their privacy? Where does their privacy end and safety begin? When does monitoring and following them online – for their safety! – become spying?

All or nothing? As usual, the answer is somewhere in the middle

According to Mary Madden, one of the authors of the Pew report there are two extremes: parents who really lock down and monitor everything — or the ones who throw up their hands and say, ‘I’m so overwhelmed’. According to Madden, many parents hesitate to confiscate phones as punishment because they want their kids to stay in contact with them. They also have a problem saying “no” to a phone, even for kids in elementary school, where it has become a status symbol. Moreover, many kids will hesitate to report any incidents to their parents for fear that their phone or online privileges will be taken away.

There are several styles of digital parenting that can be found between these extremes. Following are some of them:

I pay – I decide!

Some parents take the attitude that as long as they are paying – for the devices, the internet access, for the cell phone – they get to decide on the level of monitoring or restriction. And if the kids aren’t happy with the rules – they can choose to be without!

To enforce this policy parents may change the wifi password daily or make sure cell phones are charged outside their kids’ bedrooms overnight, so kids won’t have access during the night.

Trust but Verify

More moderate child safety advocates have traditionally promoted a “trust but verify” approach to kids’ online activities. But nowadays with so many applications and devices parents are finding that nearly impossible. PC’s, laptops, tablets, smartphones, and even the iPod touch all offer kids a way to connect. Numerous online destinations and applications are available, starting with Facebook, YouTube, and on to Formspring, Chatroulette, Instagram, Skout (a flirting app!), Snapchat, and even FruitNinja (with its private chat feature). And then there are the multiple Facebook groups that kids join, as well as school-based networks such as MyBigCampus. All of these ever changing options make it very difficult for parents to follow and monitor their kids’ online activities.

Open and Honest

This parenting style is the choice of parents who understand the need and have decided to monitor their kids’ online activities, but don’t want to go behind their backs, who understand that an open and sincere discussion is the way to go. When parents don’t reveal in advance that they will be monitoring their kids’ online activities, it will probably feel like an invasion of privacy to the child. This means having an upfront conversation with the children about the dangers of the online world and explaining how they plan to monitor their online activity. Parents should stress that they are doing this not because they don’t trust their kids but because they want to keep them safe from dangers they may not be aware of. Some topics to discuss include:

So, which style is the best?

It really depends. On the kind of communication you’ve had with your kids up till now. On the kind of parenting you’ve practiced so far, on the age of your kids, and a lot of other factors.

Obviously, not doing anything because it may be invading their privacy is not the way to go. Having said that, remember that keeping tabs on your kids and what they do online is not spying, it’s good parenting. It will keep your children safe. The internet is not private, it’s public. So, if your child is posting information for the world to see, then you should be free to see it as well!

Monitoring is not spying. It means:

It’s always important to keep open communication with your children. To talk, to explain about the dangers, to explain why you’ve chosen to monitor what they do online. You can try allowing your children to open a social media account only if they share their passwords. That’s one way to go.

But alongside communication and asking for their passwords there are technological aids. PureSight can help you monitor your kids online activities, decide and enforce an internet time quota, and receive alerts when something suspicious is happening online – whether they are trying to enter an inappropriate website (porn, violence, anorexia, to name a few), whether someone is using abusive language when chatting online with them, or whether they have friended a suspicious contact on Facebook. Click here to find out how.

Be a responsible parent. Protecting your children when they are online is not spying!
monitoring, online child safety, privacy, safe internet use
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