Online Security & Privacy Tips to Keep Students Safe

This post is an excerpt from our Digital Citizenship Conference in Los Angeles. The conference was a rich environment for educators, law enforcement officers and parents to openly discuss issues and solutions for helping students shine in the digital world. All of the content from the Digital Citizenship Conference is available as a Virtual Replay Ticket.

Here are the experts who contributed to this blog:

Clayton Cranford

Clayton Cranford
Owner
Total Safety Solutions

Gibby McCaleb

Gibby McCaleb
Sr. Manager of SOC Operations
Sony PlayStation

David Billett

David Billett
Instructional Tech Specialist
LAUSD

Dr. Adam Pletter

Dr. Adam Pletter
Clinical
Psychologist
iParent 101

Marc Marty

Marc Marty
Training Sergeant PIO
Montebello PD

Jeff Dunn

Jeff Dunn
Global Outreach & Education Manager
Google

Online Security & Privacy Tips to Keep Students Safe

With so many parents asking what they can do to keep their children safe online, experts share their best online security tips to keep students safe

Here are some key takeaways from the Online Security & Privacy to Keep Students Safe panel:

  • Start by building trust
  • Have a dialogue with your kids and build trust. Let your children know that they can come to you, without consequence, if they experience a troubling situation online.

  • Learn about tech
  • Create safe boundaries for your children once you allow them devices and access to the Internet. Take every opportunity to become more educated on digital safety. Download your kids favorite apps, read the reviews, and determine how much access they should have to the app. The more you understand the technology that your kids use the easier it will be to keep them safe.

  • Go to the police right away if your child is being threatened or bullied online
  • Don’t hesitate to get the police involved once your child is being bullied or threatened online. Instead of relying on a tool to keep your kids safe online, create and implement a digital citizenship plan.

How can we keep children safe and secure online? What are the next steps that parents should take?

As soon as your child has access to the Internet, parents need to step in and set safe boundaries for them. –Clayton Cranford

As soon as your child has access to the Internet, step in and set safe boundaries for them because a lot of the things that they are being exposed to online is unintentional. What I suggest that parents do, especially parents that did not grow up in an age with social media, is to look for opportunities to learn more about tech. Whether your school holds a seminar, or you find an online conference, understand what your kids have access to and what you can do next to keep them safe online. Download the apps that your kid wants to download and look at them. Then look at reviews and determine whether or not the app is appropriate for your kids. Ask the same questions that you would if your child was going to another child’s house. Where is your child going on the Internet and what are they going to be exposed to? –Clayton Cranford, Orange County Sheriff’s Department

What should parents do if their children are being bullied or threatened on social media?

If your child is being bullied or threatened on social media, get the police involved right away. –Marc Marty

If your child is being bullied or threatened on social media, get the police involved right away. We take cyber bullying very seriously and so we encourage parents and school professionals to get the police involved right away, no matter how small the problem may be, because it may be something that we could nip in the bud before it escalates. –Marc Marty, Montebello Police Department

Having a plan in place for digital citizenship is the best way to prevent incidences from happening. –David Billett

There are no technical solutions if your child is being bullied online. The best filter is the human filter and that all starts with understanding good digital citizenship. Having a plan in place for digital citizenship on the classroom level, on the campus level and on the district level is the best way to prevent incidences from happening. –David Billett, LAUSD

What are some ongoing trends in terms of passwords, online security, etc. What are some best practices that parents can teach their children?

Have a unique password for each site. –Gibby McCaleb

Protecting your online identity is critical because someone can access your online identity and post things as “you,” and we have seen a lot of cases where that has been done irreparable damage. Use a password manager, such as LastPass. Have a unique password for each site because you don’t want to use your gaming password for your Bank of America password. It makes it possible for a hacker to get into your private accounts by knowing one password that is used for several different accounts. –Gibby McCaleb, Sony PlayStation

How involved should parents be? Where should they take control and how?

Be aware of what your children are doing online and learn how to be proactive rather than reactive. –Dr. Adam Pletter

Always look at the parental controls, not to take control but to be empowered as a parent to know what your children can be exposed to and what can be prevented with the parental controls. In terms of protection, it’s about balance. Be aware of what your children are doing online and learn how to be proactive rather than reactive. –Dr. Adam Pletter, iParent 101

Another free solution is Family Shield by OpenDNS , which is a free service that blocks adult content on phones and tablets and laptops, etc. They also have a paid service that offers additional options, including a report of what your kids are doing online regardless of what device they are using. –Marc Marty, Montebello Police Department

What do you do when a student makes a mistake online?

If there is a problem, start by building trust with the student through dialogue. Then set up controls that limits online activity so that the child feels secure and the ability to make the same mistake is reduced. –Dr. Adam Pletter, iParent 101

You can have as many parental controls as you like, but then your kid might go over to his or her friend’s house that doesn’t have any parental controls. We know that 9 out of 10 kids being abused online will not go to their parents; so we need to create a situation where the student feels comfortable coming to their parents. Ensure that your kid feels that they can come to you right away, without discipline, for help if they run into a troubling situation online. There needs to be some amnesty there, some forgiveness. If you find out later that your kid could have told me earlier but waited, then there can be and will be consequences. But you want to make sure that if a kid makes an honest mistake that they can safely come to you right away without fear of consequences. –Clayton Cranford, Orange County Sheriff’s Department

The White House also has a site called Stop.Think.Connect. which has tips on how to handle conversations with students. –Jeffrey Dunn

The White House also has a site called Stop.Think.Connect. which also has similar tips on how to handle conversations with students and children from the parent and educator perspective. –Jeffrey Dunn, Google

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