NERDS ON CALL TO THE RESCUE: KEEP KIDS SAFE

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When we were kids, bullying happened in public. Bullies would follow us around the playground, and try to insult us, or worse physically hurt us. However, we could always escape to the safety of home and family. Today, it isn’t that easy. Now, the bullies reach into victims’ homes, mass text their friends, post to their Facebook pages, and harm them relentlessly with technology. Cyber bullying may seem like a buzzword but people are buzzing for a reason. Cyber bullying has exploded and parents and educators are left scrambling to figure out a solution to the problem. With the growth and excitement of new technology the epidemic of safety and privacy for children online has grown:
 “Not only is Cyber bullying a growing problem but it is starting at a younger age. The average cyber bully starts as young as 9 years old!
 42% of kids have been bullied while online.
 35% of kids have been threatened online.
 21% of kids have received mean or threatening e-mail or other messages.
 58% have not told an adult about something that happened to them online.
 One in five U.S. teenagers who regularly log on to the Internet said they have
received an unwanted sexual solicitation via the Web.
 Only 1/3 of households with Internet access are actively protecting their children
with filtering or blocking software.”
*Based on 2004 i-SAFE survey of 1,500 students grades 4-8* http://www.isafe.org/ 2009 and Crimes Against Children Research Center, 2011
Let’s face it we can’t stop technology, but as parents and educators we can arm ourselves with the information and resources to help combat the problem of Facebook bullies, Geotagging your child’s Smartphone photos and Cyber predators:
1. Monitor your children’s computer use: Set boundaries for how long your kids are on the computer, and what sites they are visiting. When first using the internet sit with your child and discuss what is safe, how to handle unsolicited communications and appropriate “Netiquette” online. While many parent’s struggle with kid’s privacy vs. safety, we still suggest having the computer in a central location where parents at times can view what children are looking at.
2. Activate parental controls: Both, Windows 7 & Windows Vista, have helpful features that allow you to set limitations on your child’s screen time. You can also prohibit what they download, prohibit websites they visit, etc.
3. Get to know Facebook: Facebook can be a fun way to connect with friends, but be careful about what information you publish, and who you allow to see it. Be a friend on your child’s Facebook, use it to monitor friends but not as a way to confront your child. Also, take some time to learn how to navigate Facebook’s privacy settings; you can drastically reduce the probability of being bullied online.
4. Wi-Fi Safety: If you log into your Facebook account or other accounts using free Wi- Fi, in a public place like Starbucks, someone sitting next to you can have a device that reads your passwords, and then hack into your account.
5. Block Geotagging: Do your kids have a Smartphone, Blackberry or iPhone? Then you need to consider blocking the geotagging feature on your child’s Smartphone. Geotagging tools can help predators locate your child, so for simple how-to’s follow directions at http://www.callnerds.com/blog/ to turn this feature off.
Want to help educate parents, staff and students on Cyber Safety? Why not book our Nerd Chick Andrea Eldridge, for FREE, to speak with your classes or parent clubs to help educate on Cyber Safety Tips. Nerds On Call is your local technology repair company that hopes to educate and help in our local community. For more about NERDS check out www.callnerds.com.

About The Author: Andrea Andrea Eldridge is CEO and co-founder of Nerds On Call, a computer repair company that specializes in on-site and online service for homes and businesses. Andrea is the writer of a weekly column, Nerd Chick Adventures in The Record Searchlight. She prepares TV segments for and appears regularly on CBS, CW and FOX on shows such as Good Day Sacramento, More Good Day Portland, and CBS 13 News, offering viewers technology and lifestyle tips. See Andrea in action at callnerds.com/andrea/.
About Nerds On Call: Established in a spare room in Redding, Calif., in March 2004, Nerds On Call offers on-site computer and laptop repair services to consumers and businesses. Nerds On Call provides trouble-shooting for PCs and Macs, home and office networks, printers, iPods® and MP3 players, handheld devices and cell phones, home theaters and game systems, and virtually every other form of digital entertainment. In 2009, 2010, & 2011 the company was named to Inc. magazine’s list of 5000 fastest growing private companies. With 7 locations across California and Oregon, Nerds On Call serves more than 40,000 satisfied customers per year. For more information, visit callnerds.com or call 1-800-919-NERD.