Keeping your kids safe online

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LANSING, MI (WLNS) – The Internet — millions of children use it every day.

But how can parents keep their kids safe online?

“Keep your computer in a very public location in your home,” said Andrea Bitely, Press Secretary for the Office of the Attorney General.

Bitely says it’s that easy.

“Someplace where you frequently are and you can keep an eye on the websites your child is visiting.”

But it’s not just computers. More and more children are using social media apps on their smartphones, which can be harder for parents to monitor.

That’s why Michigan State Police Detective Jay Poupard says parents need to be proactive.

“When your child asks to download an app, take the time to research that app, open the apps on your device,” Poupard said.

It sounds simple enough — but studies show 74 percent of parents don’t monitor their children’s online activities.

So what should parents look out for?

“It’s when they start disconnecting themselves from you… and they start just keeping their nose in their device all the time – that is certainly by far the most important initial warning sign,” Poupard said.

The Office of the Attorney General has several resources for parents online on how they can put parental controls on social media sites and search engines.

But Bitely says the best way to protect your kids is to talk to them.

“It’s important for parents and, and their students and children to have a really great conversation about what’s safe to look at on the Internet, what information is safe to share online,” Bitely said.

A simple conversation — that can make all the difference.

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