Many of our children are playing online games with each other more often during this pandemic. Your child/ren are now introduced to a new way of interaction at rates unfamiliar to most. They are talking with their friends on new platforms and also potentially being introduced to others that have no connection to your child/ren aside from the game or device they are playing. This link provides an introduction to the different types of gaming available, support for setting limits to time and access:
Remind Kids that Online Actions Have Consequences
The words kids write and the images they post have consequences offline.
Kids should post only what they're comfortable with others seeing.
Some of your child's profile may be seen by a broader audience than you, or they, are comfortable with, even if privacy settings are high. Encourage your child to think about the language they use online, and to think before posting pictures and videos, or altering photos posted by someone else. Employers, college admissions officers, coaches, teachers, and the police may view your child's posts.
Remind kids that once they post it, they can't take it back.
Even if you delete the information from a site, you have little control over older versions that may exist on other people's computers and may circulate online.
Tell your kids not to impersonate someone else.
Let your kids know that it's wrong to create sites, pages, or posts that seem to come from someone else, like a teacher, a classmate, or someone they made up.
Tell Kids to Limit What They Share
Help your kids understand what information should stay private.
Tell your kids why it's important to keep some things about themselves, family members, and friends to themselves. Information like their Social Security number, street address, phone number, and family financial information say, bank account or credit card numbers is private and should stay that way.
Taken from: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0012-kids-and-socializing-online
If you're interested in additional reading, these are good supplemental readings as well. The sites offer brief outlines of important factors to consider when allowing your child/ren additional freedoms online:
Cyberbullying and internet safety is not exclusive to computer use! Many children have cell phones and similar conversations and monitoring is recommended to maintain phone safety:
Technology and our children having access to the world wide web opens our youth to a new world of possibilities and connections, but also a host of new vulnerabilities. While this focus has been on cyberbullying and maintaining our children's mental health, growing confident and responsible citizens. There are many other considerations for children being active in an online community, such as risk to privacy, identity theft potential, and the vulnerability of exposure to child predators or sex-trafficking. This link is a great guide for many of the items noted above: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/topics/protecting-kids-online
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