Internet Safety Month: 12 Tips for Parents and Caregivers

Kids and teenagers are curious, and whether on a phone, tablet or computer, everything on the internet is just a few clicks away. June is Internet Safety Month and we have provided 12 tips for parents and caregivers to help youth stay safe.

Why is it so important for parents and caregivers to pay attention to what kids are doing online? Darkness to Light reports that approximately:

  • 1 in 5 youth experience unwanted online exposure to sexually explicit material.
  • 1 out of 4 minors experienced online sexual grooming via long, intimate conversations in online chatrooms.
  • 2 out of 5 youth who engage in an intimate online relationship with an adult stranger met the adult in person.

Here are 12 Tips to Help Keep Kids Safe

1. Learn about the apps your kids are using.

2. Set parental controls.

  • Don’t solely rely on parental controls to keep kids safe. These tools will help but parents and caregivers still need to stay on top of what kids are doing online.
  • Parent controls are different for each device and app so it will take a bit of time to figure it out. Google Family Link, Screen Time and Microsoft Family are tools you can search and read more about. There are also controls on broadband or mobile networks. Here is an article that can help you get started on where to go for parental controls:

3. Talk about the risks of nude photos and why they should never share these photos with anyone.

  • Sending nude photos is never safe for children or teenagers. It’s important to go over the risks with youth so they can make smart choices.
  • Talk about how there is no safe way to share these photos. Just because your face isn’t in a photo doesn’t mean you can’t be identified.
  • Remind youth that photos may get shared beyond who they initially sent it to, and these photos may still live on servers after being deleted.
  • Discuss the fact that nude photos of anyone under the age of 18 is illegal.
  • Here is an article to help parents and caregivers understand the issue of sexting:
  • Talk about and share this resource with teens – Take it Down –

4. Discuss digital footprints.

  • What happens online, stays online. Remind youth that the comments, pictures, memes and posts are permanent.

“Part of what makes online interactions so different from in-person ones is their permanent—and often public—nature, according to research by Jacqueline Nesi, PhD, an assistant professor of psychology at Brown University (Psychological Inquiry, Vol. 21, No. 3, 2020).  “After you walk away from a regular conversation, you don’t know if the other person liked it, or if anyone else liked it—and it’s over,” Prinstein said. “That’s not true on social media.” Instead, kids, their friends, and even people they’ve never met can continue to seek, deliver, or withhold social rewards in the form of likes, comments, views, and follows. As children and teens increasingly go online for entertainment and connection, parents, scholars, and policymakers are concerned that young people’s biology is making them particularly vulnerable to—and in some cases, even exploited by—social media.”

5. Talk about bullying.

  • Remind youth they don’t have to respond, message, text or play games with people who make them feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
  • Go over ways they can report, mute or block people who are being inappropriate.
  • Make sure youth know there are ways to reach out if they are getting bullied, and if they ever have thoughts of suicide or self-harm, they need to tell someone right away.

6. Discuss what to do if someone solicits them online and/or offers them money or something for free. Talk about why this isn’t safe.

7. Set limits on how much time they can be online.

  • Create a family internet safety plan that includes how much time kids can be online, don’t forget to include gaming into this as well.
  • Setting boundaries will help everyone what know what they can and can’t do online.
  • Include rules for phone access at night. It is okay to have younger children “give up” their phones, tablets and other devices after a certain time each night.

8. Check your internet history.

  • Remind yourself to check the internet search history on devices kids use frequently. This will help you know what they are searching online. If you find something inappropriate, use this as an opportunity for discussion.

9. Talk to kids about sextortion and what to do if this happens.

10. Talk to kids about location tracking in the apps they are using.

  • Talk to youth about the risks of location tracking in apps and why it is potentially dangerous for someone to track your location, especially strangers.

11. Talk about TikTok trends.

12. Remind kids they should always reach out to tell someone if they are being bullied, extorted or have any thoughts of suicide or self-harm.

  • Let youth know they are not going to get in trouble if they are getting bullied or extorted.
  • Encourage them to reach out if they are ever in this situation.
  • Remind them they are loved!
  • Share the suicide and crisis numbers to make sure youth always know they can reach out to someone.

988 Lifeline

  • 24/7 support for young people experiencing dating violence
  • Text LOVEIS to 22522

National Trafficking Hotline

  • 24/7 support for people who are being trafficked
  • Text HELP or INFO to 233733 or call 1 (888) 373 7888

Deaf Hotline

  • 24/7 through video phone (855) 812 1001
  • Email and chat for Deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled survivors

The Network/La Red

  • 24-hour hotline for LGBTQIA+ people experiencing partner abuse
  • 617-742-4911 (voice) 800-832-1901 (Toll-Free)

Crisis Text Line

  • Text HOME to 741741 for free
  • 24/7 crisis counseling (only English)

Trans LifeLine

  • Peer support for trans folks
  • 9am – 3am CT: 877 565 8860

The Trevor Project

  • 24/7 support for LGBTQ Youth
  • Text START to 678-678

Other great resources:

Easy to use Safety Leaflets grouped by ages:

Online Safety Leaflets & resources

Internet Safety Checklist from the Department of Homeland Security:


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