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Virginia is for Lovers (and Internet Safety)



Residents of Virginia know this slogan all too well. Virginia IS the state for lovers. The sense of community is one of Virginia's most prominent features and they know how to show it. In regards to child safety, Virginia has an amazing array of options and resources that can help you feel safer about your child's internet safety. To start, the Virginia Department of Education has a whole page on their website dedicated to internet safety. The resources they provide include guidelines not only for internet safety in the schools, but also advice for parents, grandparents, and caregivers on the proper use of technology at home. Additionally, the Virginia Department of Education provides school divisions with assistance on "cyber bullying, online abuse, and other dangers" that impact children.



Another great place to get resources and tips on internet safety for children is by checking out the official website for Virginia Attorney General Jason S. Miyares. His office's website has pages dedicated on internet safety tips for kids, parents, adults, and even businesses. The Attorney General website addresses internet safety as a whole and it also includes information on cyberbullying, data breaches, and various forms of identity theft. I recommend checking out the PDF they have on preventing cybercrime.



This PDF is a great resource for those that want a quick overview of ways they can help protect and prevent internet issues and harm on others. It covers a wide range of topics such as spam and scams, but I especially think parents need to read the information on the warning signs of child exploitation.



The Cyber Safe Kids Zone is on the Virginia Attorney General website and it is a place for younger children to learn more about internet safety. It is setup in a way that allows the child to learn and understand more about the internet in a safe environment and with fun activities such as coloring and fun games with Charlie Cardinal and Speedy the Crime Fighting Hamster. I recommend this form of learning about the internet for young children. Please take some time to look over the slide presentation in the Cyber Safe Kids Zone and consider sharing it with your child today.




There was a recent bill passed in Virginia that has amazing potential for a positive impact on children's internet activities. This bill is a testament to Virginia's motivation to help and expand on the safety of children state-wide. It covers a multitude of topics and problems regarding internet safety. This bill permits the Internet Safety Advisory Council to create instructional media on internet safety issues such as child trafficking prevention and online solicitation of sexual predators. It also helps by covering "other illegal online communications or activities". This is the most important part because the internet is so vast and every day a new form of human sexual predation is created and this will help to counteract them as they are formed. There are also other activities that although not illegal they can lead to illegal online activities when human sexual predation is encountered or occurs. I highly recommend reading over this bill as it is well-defined and will help you to understand the extra measures the Commonwealth of Virginia is taking to help protect your children on the internet.


Another bill that became effective July 1, 2023 and has become a widely-discussed topic on media outlets is bill SB 1515. This bill aims to introduce a form of age verification on any and all sites that Virginia residents have access to that "knowingly or intentionally publishes or distributes on the internet material harmful to minors..." This bill is helpful in preventing minors from accessing material containing nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, and sadomasochistic abuse. The websites will need to require proper age verification for people to enter the sites contents and materials. This bill is an amazing accomplishment to all parents as it is a big step in protecting children from online harm. For more information please check out the bill on the Virginia Legislative Information System website.



 

Other Online Resources


Be Internet Awesome

Be Internet Awesome is an amazing resource created by Google. They provide insightful information and its own “INTERLAND” which is a safe place for children to explore digital safety with an “online adventure”. As Be Internet Awesome is not a www website, you must search for it in your browser or click the link below.



Family Online Safety Institute

The Family Online Safety Institute(FOSI) is a great way to find many online parenting resources to introduce the topic of online safety to your children.



Stay Safe Online

Stay Safe Online has a vast amount of “digital resources” and has their own guides and tips to better cyber security and cyber safety. Check out their website for more information.



Connect Safely

ConnectSafely is a great place to learn about child internet safety and to keep up-to-date on important internet safety problems. One such problem is Virtual Kidnapping Scams which involve a fake caller inferring that a friend or family member has been kidnapped and held for ransom. Scammer can be acting as a fake officer or the kidnapper. Be sure to check out their website for more information.



 

Project CARES for You



The topic of internet safety can be very sensitive to some as it discusses hard topics such as human sexual predation, child trafficking, and other forms of harm to children. The best way to improve on the protection for children on the internet is to stay informed on the resources that help prevent the harm that can occur. While we talk about some resources there are plenty more that are out there and we highly suggest you do some research of your own and find what kind of resources are available to you in your area. The internet can be a scary place for some and even a place of great distress that is why prevention is the best form of protection. Consider checking out our other blogs on internet safety and the many ways you can begin to increase child internet protection today.


Child Internet Safety is a growing issue as technology evolves and we must also evolve our ways of protecting our children on the internet. Project CARES for You is determined to bring the resources and information to you so that you may read more on internet issues and even find ways to improve your own internet safety for your children. PC4U's mission is to protect children on the internet in the community of South Hampton Roads, Virginia by providing information on resources to parents, teachers, guardians, and all others charged with the care, welfare, and safety of children.  For more information on PC4U consider checking out our "About" page on our website and consider taking our feedback surveys to let us know how we can improve on the information and resources we are sharing.









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