Personal Stuff – This varies for EVERYONE, but my rule of thumb is if you don’t mind the worst person you can imagine having the information, then it’s ok to put on the internet. Because really, there are some pretty horrible people out there. I know one of my friends doesn’t like to share as much as some others. Because of her husband’s job it definitely makes sense for her. For me though, I’m a little bit more free with my information. First, I have a business that I run, and that doesn’t leave me with a lot of anonymity. I am also more free with my information on my personal facebook page, because I know only people I have accepted as friends can view it. That is one reason I keep my personal facebook page limited to people I actually know or have met.
Be Vigilant – Now I’m not saying that you should watch over your children’s shoulder when they are online, but you SHOULD be involved. A great quote that I can’t remember who said it is “Trust, but verify”. If your children are on Facebook, make it a requirement that you are their facebook friend. Also make sure they understand what is acceptible to share, and what is NOT. Have basic rules posted near the computer for the kids to follow…
1. Never share your full name with someone you don’t know
2. Do not share your phone number or address online, even if you are giving it to someone you know.
3. If you see something bad, turn off the computer immediately and come tell a parent.
Talk Early and Often – Talk to your kids often about internet safety. Make sure they know the rules. We’ve even had conversations about what to do when bad things come up on the computer with our 4 year old. It’s really never too early. Having an open conversation about it, before it happens will help it to not be a big deal when it does happen, and it WILL happen. The difference between them hiding it, and them coming to tell you about it could be in that initial conversation. So bite the bullet and have it.
Stay safe out there!
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Sarah Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 16 years of her career as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on KSL News, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website SarahKimmel.com