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Being a parent today can be difficult, especially when technology is such a huge part of kids' everyday life.  Just because you didn't grow up in the same environment doesn't mean you can't be informed about making smart choices while using technology.  Below are some resources that can help!

Safety and Security Tips for Parents 

Common Sense Media - Digital Life Intro
  • Be Involved - Know the online environments your children are a part of.  Take time to surf the Internet with them.  Show interest in what they do and who they interact with online.  Use online situations as teachable moments and demonstrate the correct way to handle them.
  • Support Positive Choices - Allow your child more freedom online as they demonstrate responsibility.  Reward their good decision making when they can show competence in safe and secure online behavior.
  • Help Them Think Critically - Show your children how to identify credible, accurate online information.  Teach them to be careful with the content they share, post or download.
  • Explain the Consequences - The Internet is public and all digital information shared can be taken.  Help them understand that things they share online can affect reputation, friendships, and even future employment opportunities.
  • Empower Your Children to Handle Issues - Work with your child(ren) on strategies to handle bullying, unwanted contact, or hurtful comments should they arise.  Be sure they have a plan to deal with such issues like not retaliating, blocking the person, telling an adult, or filing a complaint.
  • Encourage Your Children to be Digital Leaders - Help them to master the safe and secure techniques of using online digital resources.  Support them in their safe interactions in online communities.  Encourage them to help others make good, safe choices.
  • Hold Your Child(ren) Accountable - Ask your child(ren) to sign an Internet Safety Pledge after talking about being safe online.

Common Sense Media - Teens and Tech: The New Landscape

Social Media Tip Sheets (provided by WI DOJ)

Tips on how to set up apps, manage content/settings, and safely protect your private information.

Additional Resources for Parents

A resource for parents by parents about apps, services, and platforms used by kids and teens


Google Family Link: Tips for families about technology use with your kids


Get wise about online safety so you can help your kids make smart and safe decisions


How Much is too Much?

We live our lives immersed in technology and that brings both positive and negative effects to healthy living and development. With technology being such an integral part of our lives, how do we know when to put it down or turn it off and take a break? Well, there is no 'one size fits all' answer to this question.  The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the nation's largest group of pediatricians, has developed a new set of recommendations and resources.  These resources include an interactive media planning tool and timing calculator to help determine what is good for your family's particular situation.  The AAP recommends that "parents and caregivers develop a family media plan that takes into account the health, education and entertainment needs of each child as well as the whole family." 

Among the AAP recommendations found on their website are:
  • For children younger than 18 months, avoid use of screen media other than video-chatting. Parents of children 18 to 24 months of age who want to introduce digital media should choose high-quality programming, and watch it with their children to help them understand what they're seeing.
  • For children ages 2 to 5 years, limit screen use to 1 hour per day of high-quality programs. Parents should co-view media with children to help them understand what they are seeing and apply it to the world around them.
  • For children ages 6 and older, place consistent limits on the time spent using media, and the types of media, and make sure media does not take the place of adequate sleep, physical activity and other behaviors essential to health. 
  • Designate media-free times together, such as dinner or driving, as well as media-free locations at home, such as bedrooms.
  • Have ongoing communication about online citizenship and safety, including treating others with respect online and offline.

For more information about the AAP recommendations and to access the Family Media Plan builder, go to the AAP Website.

Student Data Privacy (what parents should know)

Many school forms require personal and, sometimes, sensitive information… Your child’s personal information is protected by law. Asking schools and other organizations to safeguard your child’s information can help minimize your child’s risk of identity theft. - Federal Trade Commission

Federal Privacy Laws:

  • US Department of Education:
    • FERPA (Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act)
    • PPRA (Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment)
  • Federal Trade Commission:
    • COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act)
  • US Department of Health & Human Services:
    • HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act)

3 Privacy Laws parents should be aware of:

  • FERPA – Parents have a right to receive a copy of their child’s education record and request correction of certain information.
  • PPRA – Parents have a right to review and opt their child out of surveys involving questions on sensitive subjects.
  • COPPA – Online service providers must obtain verifiable parental consent before collecting personal information from children under 13

Wisconsin Data Privacy Links for Parents

How Much Do You Know About Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and Your School District? 


DOJ "Protect Kids Online" Podcast Series

How to Report Incidents

If you are aware of any situations online that may, in any way, exploit or harm a child, you can report the incident to the CyberTipline.  You can also contact the Wisconsin ICAC (Internet Crime Against Children) Task Force at (608) 266-1671, or call local law enforcement.

Additional Parent Resources/Links

Protecting Kids Online
Parent Tech Tips
Cybersecurity Made Clear
Social Media Guide

Find these and more at NetSmartz and Common Sense Media

For questions about this information, contact Chad Kliefoth (608) 267-9289, Janice Mertes (608) 267-1054