June is National Internet Safety Month, a great way to raise awareness about a serious matter. But at Boys & Girls Clubs of America, we believe online safety should be a priority every month. Which is why Sprint and BGCA are working together to educate both kids and adults about online safety. To see if you’re doing all possible to keep your kids cyber safe, I urge you to take our Cyber Survivor Challenge. It’s fun and informative – with some really surprising and valuable facts.
As digital natives, kids are at ease online and use the Internet skillfully. But that comfort frequently creates a misplaced sense of security, too. A new survey by the online security firm McAfee found that for all that Internet savvy, kids can be very naïve about the online world.
While 94 percent of young people surveyed said it’s dangerous to post personal info online, for instance, 93 percent do it anyway by posting private details online – names, email, where they live, where they go to school, etc.
There’s also discrepancy in how parents and kids perceive online safety. While 71 percent of parents say they’ve discussed online safety with their children, just 44 percent of young people agree with that statement. In fact, 42 percent say their parents don’t care what they do online. Talk about your digital divide.
Social media also factors into the online safety challenge, as 86 percent of young people say they believe such sites are safe. And 85 percent of 10 to 12 year olds, our tweens, use Facebook – even if they’re not legally old enough to do so.
As mobile devices bridge a once gaping digital divide, it’s vital we understand possible online benefits and risks to our kids. By doing so, we can foster constructive aspects, such as acquiring 21st century workplace skills and expanding learning opportunities, while reducing potential threats.
There's a lot of content out there. As adults, it’s up to us to help kids differentiate the good from the bad. And to do all we can, always, to keep kids safe.