As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, children are online more than ever, leaving parents with concerns over their online safety. T&M's Rachel Bayar, Esq., Managing Director of Sexual Misconduct Consulting & Investigations, spoke to Camp Kveller on what parents should consider and how to keep their kids safe online.
During last week's Camp Kveller podcast, which was hosted by Sharon Weiss-Greenberg, the former Rosh Moshava (Head of Camp) at Pennsylvania’s Camp StoneKey, Ms. Bayar provided the following key points:
- No matter what screen time rules existed in your home prior to COVID-19, the situation has changed. It’s important to be aware of what your children are doing online, including becoming more familiar with sites, apps, or whatever types of programs and technologies they may be using.
- Stay on top of trends, address them with your children, and teach them boundaries to protect themselves. Start with a few basic ground rules:
- Nudes are a no-no. Make sure your kids understand that they should never send — or even take — a nude photograph.
- Secrets aren’t allowed. Teach your kids that keeping secrets — particularly those with adults who are strangers, even if they are “friends” with your child online — is not a safe scenario. There should be no secrets.
- Never share identifying information with strangers online.
- It is crucial that children understand that anything that happens online — even if the platform promises that the picture or message will be erased — is forever permanent.
Ms. Bayar also advises that since camp - and likely school - is now online, parents should inquire about the camp or school's online safety protocols. If they seem defensive or apprehensive about engaging in this conversation, it may be that the institution is not taking these issues as seriously as they should be. In this case, you may need to speak to other stakeholders and advocate for your children, and, if necessary, consider a different program.