How to Teach Your Kids Cyber Safety
Blog - April 15, 2017

How often do we pause before we post online?  I am guilty of deleting messages, posts and pictures.  But we all know that they never really go away.  These days nothing gets erased.

Not only do I have to practice the art of pausing (I call it an art because sometimes it takes a lot of restraint).  I have learned the hard way to pause with typing (emails) and having simple conversations, but as a parent I am responsible for teaching my kids to pause.  Practice, not perfection, right?

If not, there can be huge consequences.  Kids are taking bigger risks today too, with technology at their fingertips.

So, how can we teach our kids about cyber security?

Well, two great minds got together, Garfield creator Jim Davis and Pat Craven, the director for the Center for Cyber Safety & Education and discussed how their partnership could create a more cyber-aware generation.

In collaboration with Paws, Inc., the Center has been creating cartoons, comic books, posters, trading cards, stickers, and other materials with the Safe and Secure Online program to help educators and parents teach children how to become responsible digital citizens. The latest lesson addresses online etiquette and later the other lessons will address cyberbullying, downloading movies and music, and more.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Pat Craven and he told me about their program and its plans.

The Garfield program is designed for smaller children (grades 1-6).  Pat says, “what we try to do is teach fundamentals of what you post online and what you shouldn’t post online and teach behavioral skills and we’ve teamed up with Davis, in a way to reach out to children in a format that they are familiar with- a cartoon.”

He told me with how one simple photo, you can right click and find out the exact location of where it was taken down to the apartment building.  That’s frightening.

But like he said, “unplugging is not an option because there are too many educational opportunities on the internet.”  We just need to be educated on what we should be doing to make ourselves safer, by thinking before we click.

This isn’t about Facebook or Twitter.  Those social platforms might be gone in a couple of years.  It doesn’t matter which platform you use, you still don’t post your address.  This is one of the fundamentals that the Garfield Program teaches.

Center director, Pat Craven reflects, “These days, children as young as five years old are spending time online. It’s impossible to supervise them constantly, so we owe it to them to empower them with the instincts and knowledge they need to protect themselves whenever they’re online. With so many kids of all ages just having received connected devices as gifts this past Christmas, this is the perfect opportunity for parents to initiate that dialogue with their kids as to what content is appropriate to post and what can get them into trouble.”

The Garfield materials are the latest adaptation of The Safe and Secure Online Program, which has helped over 75,000 kids around the world become cyber-safe.

The Safe and Secure Online educational program  offers an in-classroom kit for educators and leaders everywhere to teach children internet safety. Learn more here and help keep the children in your community safe online! Parents can now order comic books and more with our individual Garfield Cyber Safety Packet. Children can learn online with Garfield’s Cyber Safety Adventures.

For more information about the kits click HERE

Order Garfield Cyber Safety Adventure Educator Kits and Packets HERE

To volunteer click HERE

Download The 12 Days of Cyber Security HERE

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