Editor’s note: The following community interest press release was issued by the National Crime Prevention Council. It has been lightly edited for style and clarity.
Fort Lauderdale, FL –McGruff SafeGuard® recently launched an Internet Safety Pledge and Contract that helps parents keep children and teens safe online. This is especially important during summer when kids have more free and unsupervised time to go online on mobile devices.
The Internet Safety Pledge – one for kids and one for teenagers – gives parents an opportunity to discuss their expectations for their kids’ behavior online with them. This includes which content is appropriate to view, dangerous activities, peer pressure and more. The contract, replete with places for parents and kids/teens to sign, formally documents expectations for online behavior between parent and child. It reminds kids of their personal responsibility for their online behavior and safety, and reinforces parents’ rules.
Parents can’t be everywhere all the time. Review the Internet Safety Tips below, then print out the kid or teen McGruff SafeGuard Internet Safety Pledge and Contract at www.GoMcGruff.com/pledge and have your children sign it.
“It would be naïve to think that my kids signing the McGruff SafeGuard Internet Safety Pledge and Contract will keep them from looking at or doing inappropriate stuff online entirely,” said Nelli Linatser, a mother of two children living in Bedford, Mass. “But it provides a reason to bring up and discuss online behavior with them, and physically signing their name to the document reminds them that we have an agreement and expectations for their online behavior, so it helps. The pledge and contract help them realize the seriousness of going online and that it’s a privilege, not a right … that can be taken away.”
Director of McGruff SafeGuard Marty Schultz said, “It’s the responsibility of every parent to keep their child safe online, but with the ubiquity of mobile phones and computing devices it’s impossible for parents to monitor online behavior all the time.” Schultz added that, “The best way to keep kids and teens from viewing inappropriate content or engaging in risky activities online is to maintain an open dialog with your child, reiterate and reinforce the rules with our Internet Safety Pledge and Contract, and teach them how to make good decisions.”
To help keep your child safe online, discuss the following ten tips with them.
1: Online Doesn’t Mean True
Reading or seeing something on the Internet doesn’t mean it’s true, and people aren’t always who they claim to be.
2. Set Rules. Enforce Consequences.
Use your mobile device responsibly and abide by the terms of our contract or it will be taken away.
3. Install a Child Safe Browser
Use available tools to prevent or see every website your child or teen visits or tries and anything they post. Remind them you, and the world, see everything they do online.
4. Restrict Mobile Devices to Open Areas
Don’t do anything online you wouldn’t do in public, and make kids go online in an open area.
5. Know Where Your Children go Online
Talk with your kids about the types of sites they like to visit and what is/isn’t appropriate. Review examples of good and bad sites.
6. Review Apps and the Ability to Install New Apps
Look at your child’s Smartphone or iPad, and review which apps they’ve already installed. Approve each app they download.
7. Don’t Reveal Anything Personal
Never give out any personal information. Discuss the types of information that could help a stranger identify them, their family or friends.
8. Do Not Communicate with Strangers
Everyone on the Internet your child doesn’t know well is a stranger.
9. Dangerous Websites
Beware of websites with sweet sounding offers; ask “why is this website going to do this for me?”
10. It is Permanent
Anything your child does on the Internet is available for anyone to see forever.
Parental Tools for Online Safety
Another free tool to help keep kids and teens safe when surfing online is the McGruff SafeGuard Browser, a fully-featured, Safari-like browser application for the iPhone®, iPad® and iPod Touch® that blocks inappropriate websites and content accessed via Safari on mobile devices. Like McGruff the Crime Dog, who is familiar to millions of parents and kids for helping families stay safe, the McGruff SafeGuard Browser protects kids and teens when surfing online on mobile devices.
Simply download the free app from iTunes and then choose to block or allow content by topic or age. More than 100 topics can be blocked including pornography, dating, violence, sex education, alcohol, drugs, gambling and many others. Parents receive a report summarizing their child or teen’s online browsing activity, and which device was used for access. The McGruff SafeGuard Browser, free and Full Control versions, are available for download on iTunes at http://GoMcGruff.com/iTunes.
About McGruff SafeGuard
McGruff SafeGuard for Window PCs is an easy to use service designed to help parents manage their kids' increasingly dangerous online activity. The service intelligently monitors all internet activity for potential danger. It allows parents to conveniently review their kids' activities on a secure website, or to be notified of potentially dangerous situations via cell phone and email alerts. McGruff SafeGuard for Windows alerts parents to dangerous behavior, such as cyber-bullying, Internet predators, or other teen activities that concern parents. It also provides helpful advice to parents on how to deal with certain issues. McGruff SafeGuard is a licensee of the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC). Our offices are located at 2941 West Cypress Creek Road, 2nd Floor, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33309. To reach us please call (954) 607-7559, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us online at http://gomcgruff.com.
About NCPC and McGruff the Crime Dog®
The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) is a private, nonprofit organization whose primary mission is to be the nation's leader in helping people keep themselves, their families, and their communities safe from crime. NCPC manages public service advertising under the National Citizens' Crime Prevention Campaign — symbolized by McGruff the Crime Dog® and his "Take A Bite Out Of Crime®" slogan — and acts as secretariat for the Crime Prevention Coalition of America, more than 400 national, federal, state, and local organizations representing thousands of constituents who are committed to preventing crime. NCPC is funded through a variety of government agencies, corporate and private foundations, and donations from private individuals.
Back in 1980, a dog in a rumpled trench coat said, "You don't know me yet. But you will." Since then, McGruff the Crime Dog has become world famous for his advice on how to stop crime before it happens. Over the years, he has taught millions of people that the police can't fight crime alone — crime prevention is everybody's business and everyone can help "Take a Bite out Of Crime."