The internet and media can be a wealth of information!! On the other hand, when used inappropriately can be a nightmare! Locally, we have had new app called Ogle that is a social media app geared for kids to share campus information, but has been used to post mean things about other kids and a bomb threat! This terrifies me! How do you know whoever posted that threat won’t act out on it?! We need to teach our kids proper use of the internet and safety measures. It is too accessible to not address this issue any more. A local school sent an email to parents warning them of the above app and internet safety tips to review with your child. Please consider discussing these tips with your children!!

Here are some helpful hints for parents and families to help support your child from Peaceful Parents, Happy Kids by Dr. Laura Markham:

1. Never write or forward a photo, or anything in a text, that you wouldn’t want forwarded to everyone in your school, your principal and your parents. Remember that everything you send can become public.

2. Always ask before you forward a text or photo. Be respectful. How would you feel if someone forwarded an unflattering photo of you?

3. Always ask before you take a photo or video. Even once someone has given you permission to take a photo, ask before you post it.

4. If someone asks you to send a “sexy” photo, remember that even with Snapchat (which “evaporates” the photo), the picture can be copied and forwarded to others. Anyone could see it — every kid in the school, your teachers, your parents. It happens all the time to great kids. Just don’t send it. And talk to your parents about it.

5. If you receive an inappropriate photo, immediately delete it from your phone, tell your parents, and block the number so you can’t receive more. Possession or distribution of sexual pictures of people who are underage is illegal. If the person who sent it to you asks why, just say “It’s illegal. Let’s talk instead.”

6. Never post your cell phone number on Facebook or broadcast it beyond your friends (because it leaves you open to stalking.)

7. Never broadcast your location except in a direct text to friends (because it leaves you open to stalking.) Don’t use location apps that post your location.

8. Never respond to numbers you don’t recognize.

9. If you receive an unsolicited text, that’s spam. Don’t click on it. Instead, tell your parents so they can report the problem and have the caller blocked.

10. Don’t download apps without your parents’ permission.

11. Don’t spend your money all in one place.You don’t need web-surfing or ringtones. Get unlimited texts so you don’t have to worry about budgeting.

12. Set up your charging station in the living room so your phone is not in your room at night.

13. Have a life. Don’t feel obligated to respond to texts right away and don’t text until homework is done, during dinner, or after 9 p.m.

14. L8R – Later! If you’re driving, turn off your cell phone and put it in a bag where you can’t reach it in the back seat. (Make sure you have directions before you start out.) Cars kill people.

15. Nothing replaces FtF. If a “friend” sends you a mean message, take a deep breath and turn off your phone.Talk to them the next day, Face to Face, about it. Never say anything via text that you wouldn’t say Face to Face.