Keeping an eye on kids while they are online

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – It’s the midst of summer and with this hot weather, kids are most likely spending quite a bit of time indoors.

But more indoor time can mean more screen time with parents having to keep a closer eye on what their kids are doing online.

According to the Pew Research Center, 92 % of teens are online daily.

That doesn’t even consider the number of kids online.

So experts say it’s important for parents to check they have the proper tools in place to keep their kids safe online.

Matt and Erika Valentin own an electronic repair shop in Lafayette. While these tech-savvy parents may know a thing or two about computers, they say keeping their kids safe online isn’t easy.

“Ours especially in the line of work that we do have access to everything so they’re on it a lot,” Matthew Valentin explains.

The Valentins have three kids…an 8-year-old and 5-year-old twins.

“I share an email address with my son. Everything they’re attached to we’re attached to so it’s our email addresses that we’re getting all the notifications, Erika Valentin says.

According to a national cyber security alliance survey, 74 % of parents surveyed admitted they did not monitor their children’s online activities.

“Your kids come in with too much information about something or are startled about something that’s probably some information you don’t want them to see,” says Sharene Gott, President, and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana.

Matthew Valentin says his son had a close call on YouTube…messaging someone he thought was someone else.

“He thought it was his famous person and it wasn’t. Just some random kid who also liked that guy but was using it as a username. Our son’s trying to chat with him. I don’t think he was trying to be malicious but it could be dangerous,” the father recalls.

Both parents say because they share an email account, they were able to stop it.

Gott says when it comes to child safety on the internet, it’s important to go to the experts.

“The better business bureau is advising to check with different agencies to set up perimeters that are known to them and suggested. Now it’s up to parents to decide what perimeters they want to set,” says Gott.

The better business bureau recommends parents looking at onguardonline.gov and staysafeonline.org for advice on monitoring kids online and the types of filters to use.

“You have to get to know your child’s habits. Kind of watch who they’re hanging around, whoever their hanging around shouldn’t be any different than who they’re trying to hang out with online,” says Erika Valentin.

Matthew Valentin says he hopes that by starting to monitor their kids online while they’re young, it will seem pretty routine by the time they’re teenagers.

“Not until they’re adults on their own to I feel like we can be like okay you have your privacy go do what you want to do,” he says

Erika Valentin says: “Not until they’re like 30 years old will I allow that.”

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