FBI Portland
Beth Anne Steele
(503) 460-8099
September 8, 2020

Oregon FBI Tech Tuesday: Building a Digital Defense for Online School

Welcome to the Oregon FBI’s Tech Tuesday segment. This week: building a digital defense as your kids head back to school online.

Last week we talked about steps that parents could take to ensure that you are prepared to manage your child’s online environment in our new virtual world. We covered topics such as platform safety, data retention, and privacy matters. Today, we are going to talk about ways that you can help your children learn to be safe as they navigate cyber school.

We have an easy way to help you start those discussions about appropriate online behavior and the damage that they can do to themselves and others if they make poor choices. The FBI has a cyber citizenship program called Safe Online Surfing—or SOS—to teach kids in third through eighth grade about safe and responsible Internet use. The interactive, game-based program emphasizes the importance of cyber safety topics such as password security, smart surfing habits, and the safeguarding of personal information.

This free program can be used by families at home or by teachers in the schools. Kids can work at their own pace to complete the island activities and don't have to finish in one sitting. The FBI does not keep individual student data. For more information about the SOS program, go to https://sos.fbi.gov

For those with teens in the family, here are some other steps to take:

  • Make sure you know what apps are on all the devices in your home.
  • Check your child’s devices and accounts regularly. Parents should have the passwords to every device and every app or social media platform the student is using.
  • Make clear your expectations about appropriate behavior and privacy.
  • Make sure your kids keep passwords and PINs a secret from classmates. Even friends could give your password away or use it in ways you don’t want.
  • Make sure they set their privacy settings to the highest levels on all devices and social media accounts. Emphasize that they should only share their thoughts and appropriate photos with friends—not friends of friends or complete strangers.

Finally, we are lucky that in Oregon we have a really effective program to help kids deal with cyber bullying and other threats. It’s called Safe Oregon, and it is a program that brings law enforcement and school officials together to help kids. You can report cyber bullying to Safe Oregon online at https://www.safeoregon.com/. There’s also information on that website about other ways you can report concerns by calling, texting or emailing. Choose the option that works best for you.

Thanks, and have a great week.