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Tuesday is Safer Internet Day

On Tuesday, ConnectSafely, a nonprofit educating users about technology, hosted its 10th Safer...
On Tuesday, ConnectSafely, a nonprofit educating users about technology, hosted its 10th Safer Internet Day in the U.S.(Max Cotton)
Published: Feb. 9, 2021 at 5:39 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, people have moved even more of their lives online. Though technology makes it possible to connect while physically staying away from each other, it also comes with some dangers.

On Tuesday, ConnectSafely, a nonprofit educating users about technology, hosted its 10th Safer Internet Day in the U.S.

“Safer Internet Day is an opportunity to have a conversation with your kids about what apps they’re using, what sites they’re visiting, what messaging tools they use to connect with their friends,” UW-Eau Claire Criminal Justice Professor Justin Patchin said.

Patchin also co-directs the Cyber Bullying Research Center.

Eau Claire Police Officer Josh Miller said keeping kids safe online requires more than a conversation with their parents.

“I don’t think it’s possible to be too invasive in your kids to internet activity, to know their passwords, know their social media accounts, monitor their chats, looking over their shoulder. This is a time where you can’t be too safe,” he said.

Patchin said kids are more susceptible to online predators because their brains are still developing, which means they may not think twice when posting.

“The desire to, you know, go viral, right, or draw attention to your particular page, kids might be more willing to take more risks that open themselves up to potential victimization,” he said.

Patchin also has advice for kids about what not to post.

“Don’t post anything online that you wouldn’t want other people to see, right,” he said. “So, I mean, if it’s something that you would tell your friends in a public setting, if it’s something you would share or say to them in front of other adults, if you wouldn’t be concerned if your parents were in on that conversation or saw that content, you’re probably fine.”

Miller also said people should be very careful when giving out personal information online, including passwords and bank account information.

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