Here's how you can help protect your kids online

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The internet can be a big and scary place, especially when you child is old enough to start using it. 

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children advise parents to take charge, monitor and communicate as three basic guidelines to help protect your child  online. 

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Take Charge 

Take charge of you child's internet usage by setting some ground rules and basic guidelines for when your child can go online, what sites they can visit and how many texts they're allowed to send a month. 

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Before you purchase new technology for your child, do some research. Many handheld game consoles allow access to the internet and many laptops have built-in webcams. 

If your child is being bullied online or dealing with potential predators, don't hesitate to report it. Report them to the website, cell phone service, law enforcement, or www.cybertipline.com

Monitor

Make sure to supervise your child internet usage. If you can see what you child is doing, then they are less likely to get in trouble. 

Safeguards aren't always protecting the safety of your child. Installing such softwares does not guarantee your child's safety as much as your time and attention can. 

Try not to go overboard with the monitoring. It's smart to monitor social media profiles, but don't post embarrassing photos or messages to your child's page. 

Communicate

Make sure you are talking to your child and asking questions. They may not tell you everything, but it doesn't hurt to ask. Getting involved means you will not be the last to know. 

If your child likes video games or computer games, ask if you can play too. Respecting your child's interest will help them respect your rules. 

Don't take away your child's internet access because they've done something wrong. This will not solve the problem. Talk to your child about protecting themselves and respecting others online.