online safety

Tips for Talking Technology and Safety With Your Kids

There's a free program to help parents stay up-to-date on technology.

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Let’s face it - keeping up with how your kids are using technology is one of the hardest jobs parents have today.

As the school year is underway, an online tech expert hopes to help relieve some of the burden.

“While our children are online, what can we do and how we can encourage them to be safe, to be kind, and to be savvy while they’re there?" said Lynette Owens, vice president of Trend Micro.

Her tips: use parental controls and other security and software settings to lower online risks.

Talk to your kids about privacy, strong passwords and security. Owens says parents should specifically stress that they be a minimalist online, meaning don’t put so much out there that the information could be enticing to someone with bad intentions.

As for teens looking to spend some hard-earned cash from their first job, she says talk to them about deals that look too good to be true and not just trusting ads you see on social platforms.

Whatever the topic or new trend, always couple your kids’ tech use with regular check-ins. Keep the line of communication open, so that they feel they can come to you when something is wrong or worrisome.

“Using technology to socialize is very, very important to students. It’s not something we need to be afraid of if we stay involved as parents, keep the lines of communication open, make sure they feel they can come to us if they find something that is troubling or worrisome,” Owens said.

Need help navigating it all?

Trend Micro offers a free, virtual program to parents across the country during the school year. The “Family Tech Talk” discuss the latest tips for parents to be aware of a couple a times a month both in English and Spanish.

You can ask questions in real time. For more information or to sign up, click here.

Lastly, with screen time in school and after, it adds up. Owens urges parents to keep an eye out for the physical costs of technology. Is your kid experiencing eye strain? Headaches, neck aches?

Encourage kids to take breaks and limit their time staring at screens.

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