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Online and social media safety tips for students


GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) – Students are growing up in a high-tech world, and that comes with some dangers.

The American Psychological Association says 94 percent of parents take at least one action to manage a child’s technology use during the school year.

It’s important to know who your child is talking with online, says IT expert Curt Esser.

“They may think they’re talking to a cute teenage girl online and it turns out to be a creepy older man who is trying to extort or exploit them,” says Curt Esser of Esser Consulting in Appleton.

Esser says teens tend to use video-related apps like TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram.

Esser has these tips:

  • Know the people your child is talking to online
  • Know the apps your child uses most
  • Tell them not to click on links from people they do not know
  • Monitor what your child is sharing online

“They might think they’re anonymous but they’re not. It can usually be tracked back to them. Once someone figures out who they were and you said something that someone else doesn’t like, guess what? You can become a victim of cyberbullying. They might be contacted or stalked. There are all sorts of dangers out there,” says Esser.

Dangers include:

  • Spyware
  • Stalking
  • Blackmail
  • Sextortion
  • Human Trafficking

“When they find out about it on the news or something – that’s where you need to use that as an opportunity,” says Esser. “Talk to your kids, explain what’s going on and have an open line of communication with them.”

Esser says it is crucial to set clear and concise expectations when it comes to technology use. Be patient, listen and repeat what you expect–in small doses.

“They aren’t going to be able to grasp everything at once, but gradually over time, hopefully when a situation comes up, they’ll be able to handle it appropriately,” says Esser.

Listen to your child’s concerns and help them through tough situations.

“Everyone makes mistakes and the kids might be embarrassed by some of the things that’s going on. Hey, they’re kids, it’s all part of growing up. Let’s face it. It’s a lot tougher now than it was for when we were kids. We didn’t have the internet. Now they need to know that anything that goes on the internet can stay on the internet,” Esser says.

Remind them about the dangers of some online challenges and how videos can follow you forever.

“Parents have to be parents and if that means sometimes you have to say no, you have to say no. Part of it is educating yourself and your child about the potential dangers out there,” says Esser.

MORE BACK 2 SCHOOL COVERAGE: https://www.wbay.com/news/education/back-to-school/



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