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Tips offered to keep kids safe online

December 28, 2018

With retailers such as Amazon releasing figures showing a record holiday electronic sales season, especially devices geared toward kids, Somerset County children may have found electronics underneath their Christmas trees.

But as kids set up their devices, there are some things parents can do to keep them safe.

According to the Journal of Adolescent Health, 65 percent of online sex offenders use social networking sites to gain home and school information about their victims and 82 percent of online sex crimes against minors originate from online social information.

Jordan Polca, information technologist with George and Bob’s Computer Service in Somerset, said the business saw an uptick in technology sales around the holidays.

“Tablets are really popular with all the apps,” he said.

Polca recommends that parents restrict device usage to a common room in the home such as the living room.

“I wouldn’t allow it to be in their bedroom,” he said.

He also believes that education goes a long way.

“Really teach them what is acceptable to do on the internet and what is not acceptable,” he said.

Education applies to adults as well. With ever-changing technology, parents often purchase devices for their children that they cannot use themselves. Proper usage allows parents to monitor their child’s online activity. Parents should also know their children’s passwords and log in occasionally to make sure they have not changed.

“If you give your child a computer or a tablet, make sure you also know how to use it,” he said.

Different operating systems have different parental controls. Some systems have parental controls that can be downloaded. He recommends utilizing a program to help keep kids off certain websites.

“If you are going to get your kids computers and tablets, they should not be on them constantly,” he said. “I would set settings or just let them know they can’t be on it all day. Give them a certain amount of time they can be on it. All the technology is great, but if your kid is on it all day, it’s not great.”

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