School is in full swing, your kids are digging for the data they’ll need to fill all those reports, papers and projects that fuel their passing grades…

And Mr. Google can be their greatest friend when it comes to finding tons of tidbits to keep teacher happy.

But with great opportunity comes great risk…

Threats to your kids’ safety and well-being, posed by bullies, scam artists and pedophiles, lie in wait for the innocent. For example, according to CBS news, odds are about one in seven your kid will get picked on by a cyberbully.

Fortunately, you have a few tools and tricks up your sleeve to keep your kids safe. Here’s a helpful handful that we recommend:

  1. Kids may come across offensive web pages as they search the Internet. They can avoid this content by using child-oriented search engines, such as AskKids or KidsClick.org. This method isn’t always completely effective, so you may want to combine it with filtering software.
  1. A low-cost tablet and smartphone application can monitor, restrict and time your kids’ online activities. Mobicip blocks access to sexually explicit web sites. You may also use it to filter out various other material, such as news, social media or chat rooms.
  1. Cyber Patrol Online Protection offers a similar solution for desktop and notebook PCs. It blocks harmful web sites, logs online activity and limits the amount of time that kids can surf the web. This software also does its best to detect cyberbullying and warn parents.
  1. The STOPit smartphone app lets children tell adults about cyberbullying without risking retaliation. When kids see mean-spirited posts about their peers, they can anonymously forward the messages to parents or teachers. A high school in New Jersey successfully reduced bullying by urging students to use this app.
  1. Garfield, Nermal and Dr. Nova teach kids about Internet bullying in an interactive cartoon known as Professor Garfield Cyberbullying. The iPad app gives children tips on what to do when peers engage in this hurtful behavior. It uses a story about an online animal dancing contest to keep young learners interested.

These tools can make a big difference, but it’s still vital to talk about Internet safety. Be sure to discuss the potential risks with your child. Kids usually benefit when parents take the time to listen and offer helpful advice about specific issues.

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