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Internet Safety

Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act

This notice is provided as part of the District’s continuing effort to educate parents and students about privacy protection and Internet use.

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act gives parents control over what information websites can collect from their children. Many companies, however, are not providing information about what data a mobile app collects, who will have access to that data, and how it will be used. Allowing your child access to games and other seemingly harmless applications on a smartphone or computer risks his or her exposure to intrusive marketing and access to personal information.

A recent survey of apps for children by the Federal Trade Commission found that 10 percent of apps with social networking services did not disclose their presence; 17 percent of the apps allowed children to make purchases without parent/guardian consent; and 58 percent contained constant advertising, while less than 20 percent disclosed that advertising would appear.

The following suggestions may help keep children from being bombarded by unwanted advertising, from making unwanted purchases and from disclosing personal information and location:

·         Be choosy about the applications that you let your child use. Try the app yourself to check for advertising messages and/or social networking and purchase options before allowing your child access.

·         Select activities that do not require access to the Internet or an application, such as looking at family pictures or listening to preselected music, screened and approved by you.

·         Make certain that the ability to make purchases is password protected.

·         Set up family rules and consequences explaining that all purchases made via a smartphone or computer must have parent/guardian consent.

·         Caution children about the use of social networking and other sites and/or apps that can pinpoint locations.

·         Monitor computer and smartphone use whenever and wherever possible.

For more information on the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, please see the following links:



Keeping Yourself and Your Kids Safe On Social Networks

For students:

  • Put everything behind password protected walls, where only friends can see.
  • Protect your password and make sure you really know who someone is before you allow them onto your friend’s list.
  • Blur or morph your photos a bit so they won’t be abused by cyberbullies or predators.
  • Don’t post anything your parents, principal or a predator couldn’t see.
  • What you post online stays online - forever!!!! So ThinkB4UClick!
  • Don’t do or say anything online you wouldn’t say offline.
  • Protect your privacy and your friends’ privacy too...get their okay before posting something about them or their pics online.
  • Check what your friends are posting/saying about you.  Even if you are careful, they may not be and may be putting you at risk.
  • That cute 14-year old boy may not be cute, may not be 14 and may not be a boy!  You never know!
  • And, unless you’re prepared to attach your blog to your college/job/internship/scholarship or sports team application…don’t post it publicly!
  • Stop, Block and Tell!  (don’t respond to any cyberbullying message, block the person sending it to you and tell a trusted adult).
  • R-E-S-P-E-C-T!  (use good netiquette and respect the feelings and bandwidth of others).
  • Keep personal information private  (the more information someone has about you, the more easily they can bully you).
  • Google yourself!  (conduct frequent searches for your own personal information online and set alerts … to spot cyberbullying early).
  • Take 5!  (walk away from the computer for 5 minutes when something upsets you, so you don’t do something you will later regret).

And for parents:

  • Talk to your kids - ask questions (and then confirm to make sure they are telling you the truth!)
  • Ask to see their profile page (for the first time)…tomorrow!  (It gives them a chance to remove everything that isn’t appropriate or safe…and it becomes a way to teach them what not to post instead of being a gotcha moment!  Think of it as the loud announcement before walking downstairs to a teen party you’re hosting.)
  • Don’t panic…there are ways of keeping your kids safe online.  It’s easier than you think!
  • Be involved and work with others in your community.  (Think about joining WiredSafety.org and help create a local cyber-neighborhood watch program in your community.)
  • Remember what you did that your parents would have killed you had they known, when you were fifteen.
  • This too will pass!  Most kids really do use social networks just to communicate with their friends.  Take a breath, gather your thoughts and get help when you need it.  (You can reach out to WiredSafety.org.)
  • It’s not an invasion of their privacy if strangers can see it.  There is a difference between reading their paper diary that is tucked away in their sock drawer…and reading their blog.  One is between them and the paper it’s written on; the other between them and 700 million people online!
  • Don’t believe everything you read online - especially if your teen posts it on her blog!

For more information, visit www.WiredSafety.org; www.stopcyberbulling.org.

Reprinted with permission from “Parry Aftab’s Guide to Keeping Your Kids Safe Online, MySpace, Facebook and Xanga, Oh! My!”  Parry Aftab, Esq., www.aftab.com.

Resources for Students and Parents

Resources for students:

Federal Trade Commission - Social Networking Sites: Safety Tips for Tweens and Teens www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/tech/tec14.shtm

Connect Safely - Social Web Tips for Teens www.connectsafely.com/Safety-Tips/social-web-tips-for-teens.html (2008).

Life online (Girls Scouts and Windows) - lmk.girlscouts.org/Online-Safety-Topics/Social-Networking/Is-It-Safe-/Test-Your-Knowledge-on-Social-Networking-Safety.aspx. Test for knowledge of networking safety.

Resources for parents:

Safety Web - Social Networking Safety Tips for Parents, Monitoring Social Networking of your Child www.safetyweb.com/social-networking-safety-tips. Great comprehensive article for parents.

Connect Safely - Social Web Tips for Parents www.connectsafely.com/Safety-Tips/social-web-tips-for-parents.html (2008).

National Cyber Security Alliance - Social Networking www.staysafeonline.org/in-the-home/social-networking (August 30, 2010).

National Consumers League - Social networking security and safety tips www.nclnet.org/technology/9-safe-computing/152-social-networking-security-and-safety-tips.

DHS U.S. CERT - Socializing Securely: Using Social Networking Services www.us-cert.gov/reading_room/safe_social_networking.pdf.

DHS U.S Computer Emergency Readiness Team - Staying Safe on Social Network Sites www.us-cert.gov/cas/tips/ST06-003.html (January 26, 2011).

Internet Safety: Social Networking Sites for Children www.privatewifi.com/internet-safety-social-networking-sites-for-children/ (March 30, 2011).

8 Safe Social Networks for Kids kommein.com/8-safe-social-networks-for-kids/ (Jan. 5, 2011). List of sites that are compliant with Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act and have parental controls