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10 tips for parents on cyber wellness

Parents hear grave stories about grave cyberspace crime, losing kids to cyber addiction (especially on social media sites), kids secretly meeting online strangers often. While you may hope that these stories are mere urban legends—it isn’t too far fetched. There was even a story of a mother duped into showing her daughter off nude on Skype to an a pedophile. Better safe than sorry, right—even if you’re a swamped-beyond-busy parent, take some time to view the quick tips below.

1. Establish House Rules: There should be a standing rule on the amount of time or type of online activities, which your child can engage in. For example, you may want to limit your child’s access to the Internet only after school homework has been completed. In addition, you may want to limit online activities to 2 hours per day.

2. Explain Need For Rules: There should be an explanation for rules set. There should also be consequences of violating them so that children will learn to respect the boundaries.‎

3. Maintain Open Communication: This is important so that your children understand your concerns and will be encouraged to share problems that they encounter online with you.

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4. Adjust Privacy Settings: This will ensure you keep personal information private, and teach your children not to divulge personal information online.

5. Say “No” T Meeting Strangers: There should be a standing rule not to meet stranger they have met online. Encourage your children to check with you whenever they are in doubt.

6. Create Strong Passwords: This will help to prevent illegal access by online hackers. A good password has at least eight characters that are a mixture of letters, digits and symbols.

7. Use Security Software: Using a security software helps to keep cyber risks at bay. You can opt for filter services offered by your ISPs or commercial software by Norton, McAfee or NetNanny.

8. Delete Unknown Email: Ensure you delete any email and/or attachment from unknown senders to prevent viruses from infecting your computer.

9. Monitor Time Spent: There should be strict monitoring on time spent on the computer and set reasonable limits. Encourage your children to take regular breaks at least once every 30 minutes while using the computer. Your children should participate in other activities so that they realize that there are other things to do apart from surfing the Internet and social media sites.

10. Practice Proper Etiquette: This helps your children to observe proper social etiquettes the cyberspace in the same manner that you would in the real world. Teach them to be respectful of others, refrain from using profanities, and type messages in lower cases to avoid “shouting” online.

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