How to keep your kids safe online

Kids might not understand the implications of what they post online. Credit: Getty Images
Kids might not understand the implications of what they post online.
Credit: Getty Images

Internet safety and digital parenting expert Hilary DeCesare answers our questions about the changes to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act and what you need to do to make sure your little ones are safe while navigating the Internet.

Can you tell us a little bit more about COPPA?
The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act was enacted to protect children under 13 online, and the parents of children under 13 committed to keeping their kids safe online.
Last year the FTC amended it. What are the new rules?
They needed to keep up with evolving technology and changes in the way children use and access the Internet. This includes the ever-increasing use of mobile devices and social networking sites. The amendments, which go into effect July 1, will require operators of websites or online services that are either directed to children under 13 or have actual knowledge that they are collecting personal information from children under 13 to notify parents and get their verifiable consent before they can collect, use or disclose a child’s personal information. They will also be required to keep the information they collect from children secure. This information includes geo-locations, photos, videos and audio files that contain a child’s image or voice.
Last month, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano spoke to the importance of teaching “good cyber hygiene” to today’s youth. What does good cyber hygiene mean?
It’s also called cyber etiquette, or digital etiquette, and it means acting appropriately online. At young ages, children have no idea what “forever” means and therefore don’t understand the implications of what they post online. Unfortunately, if they happen to post this content on non-COPPA sites, the content is out there forever. Some examples of this are posting inappropriate pictures or other media, and posting personal information including full names, addresses, phone numbers, schools, etc. Posting the latter can even result in cyber-stalking, or predators gaining information about the child. Learning good cyber hygiene helps kids understand what is and isn’t appropriate, and trains them to be responsible digital citizens.

 What is the appropriate age for children to begin going online?
Every child is different. While some are happy to wait to go online until they are 13, many children wish to get on the Web at an earlier age. In fact, among very young children (up to 5 years old) who use the Internet, about 80 percent do so at least once a week. If children decide to go online at a young age, it is important they respect platform age minimums; for example, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter ask that you be 13 or older to use their sites, as they are not COPPA-compliant. If children are online in an appropriate space, it is good for them to learn how to be a responsible digital citizen.

 


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

Boston Marathon 2014 on high alert, Red Sox…

One year on from the horrific Boston Marathon bombings a ring of steel has been thrown around today's race, and a city stands defiant against…

News

Boston Strong: One year on from Boston Marathon…

  For more than a century the Boston Marathon has been an even centred around sportsmanship, endurance and athleticism, but there's no denying the face…

Local

Best nature spots for kids in New York…

When it comes to kids and nature, most U.S. parents agree: children should be spending more time outdoors. According to a recent survey by The…

Local

Easter 2014: The year's best bonnets

It's Easter, and that means it's time for Fifth Avenue to turn into a veritable catwalk of bonnet-wearers. The annual march, which kicks off at…

Television

‘Mad Men’ recap: Season 7, Episode 2, ‘A…

Peggy and Lou are horrible, Bert's racist, Don is honest(ish) and Roger and Pete are frustrated. "A Day's Work" not quite worthy of "This Will Be Our Year."

Television

'Game of Thrones' recap: Season 4, Episode 3,…

The problem with the devil you know is that ignoring them doesn’t mean they simply lie in wait. It allows them time to do things…

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

NHL

Rangers let chance at victory slip away in…

All the Rangers had to do was hold serve in a raucous Madison Square Garden — roaring in anticipation of putting a hated rival in a 2-0 series hole.

MLB

Yankees place Ivan Nova on DL with partially…

Yankees starter Ivan Nova was diagnosed with a partially torn UCL in his throwing elbow Sunday.

NHL

Rangers never thought opening round would be 'an…

You might have thought the Metropolitan Division semifinal series was going to be a rout after watching Game 1 Thursday night. The Rangers did not.

NHL

Rangers blow two-goal lead in Game 2 loss…

The Rangers got out to an early 2-0 lead in Game 2 and the Garden was rocking. But it went downhill quickly from there.

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.