Happy Safer Internet Day everyone! In case you’re not exactly sure what this day means, Safer Internet Day focuses on children and the internet. It’s hard to find a preschooler these days who does not know how to play on an iPad. They all have smart phones in elementary school and are surfing the web each with their own social media sites in middle school. (Our kids have more followers than we do. Ahem.) Many parents have found themselves in uncharted territory when it comes to the world wide web and the massive amounts of technological devices giving kids constant access to it. We all want to keep our children safe, but we may not be sure how to do it. Good News! Disney has joined with Childnet International to bring awareness to the importance of providing a safe internet environment for children. The theme this year, “Connect with Respect” reaches kids on a level they can relate to. We’ve all been taught the golden rule. Teaching our kids to treat another person as you want them to treat you has gone beyond the school yard, playground, and the park to include other kids they meet virtually.
Since 2005, Disney’s Club Penguin has been committed to providing a fun and safe environment for kids and families to connect and play online and has one of the most advanced safety and moderation technology systems in the industry. (Who knew!) The virtual world has over 200 moderators across the world that are in Club Penguin, 24 hours a day, moderating and participating in Club Penguin’s online play sessions. Club Penguin was the first online game we introduced in our home. Our kids love interacting and customizing their own virtual world. Disney has made it a safe place to play and make friends. Last year, they introduced one of the most advanced chat technologies and filtering systems online that incorporated years of learning from player behavior in Club Penguin, and includes a database of nearly 300,000 approved phrases in each of the virtual world’s four supported languages globally.
Take a look at this video from Ella Henderson about Safer Internet Day.
Check out these Online Safety Tips from the team at Club Penguin:
- Be active and involved in your child’s social networking account, gaming activity, and other online experiences. This will allow conversations to occur about situations that happen online. For example, parents can stay up to date with their children’s experience in Club Penguin by easily accessing their child’s account to set play time duration, reset passwords and view their activity. They also can sign up for our monthly parent newsletter and parent Facebook and Twitter accounts, in order to stay equipped with the latest information on online safety to continue these open conversations.
- Before you allow your child to use a social networking site or receive a smart phone, sit down with them and create a safety contract together. Having them create and sign the contract will facilitate a conversation with your child about best practices online and will open a channel of communication for future discussions. Don’t make the conversation too heavy at first , keep it about the basics; don’t share passwords, private information is private and be respectful of others.
- The Family Online Safety Institute has great online safety cards for parents, http://aplatformforgood.org/pages/online-safety-cards. These cards can be included in the gift wrapping for a new device (smart phone, tablet, etc.) and will help jump start the conversation about online safety expectations.
- Before they post a message or photo online, make sure that it won’t hurt anyone else. They should always check with you first.
- Teach your kids about cyber bullying. If they ever see someone being mean to other people online, it’s important to let a parent know and report them.
When in doubt, keep it simple and make it clear. Tell them to remember the Club Penguin Rules:
- RESPECT OTHERS
- DON’T SHARE PERSONAL INFO
- NO CHEATING
- DON’T USE RUDE WORDS
To join in the conversation, the hashtag is #SID2013
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *