FAIRFIELD — Chief Robert Kalamaras and the Fairfield Police Department wish to share internet safety tips with community members in observation of Safer Internet Week.
Safer Internet Day is usually celebrated on a day in February each year. This year it is being celebrated for a full week. The theme is “Improving Well-Being Online” with a focus on social comparison, fear of missing out, body image, cyberbullying, youth activism, misinformation, extended reality and the metaverse, free speech and content moderation, and more.
As part of Safer Internet Week, the Fairfield Police Department would like to remind residents to be responsible and respectful when using the internet and posting online. Revealing personal information and images can put users’ privacy and safety at
risk. As such, community members should never post their telephone or cell number, home address, account passwords or other personal information online.
Community members should also never open attachments from someone they don’t know and never send money or account information to an unverified source.
In order to protect children and teens, the Fairfield Police Department would like to offer the following tips from Ready.gov’s Stop.Think.Connect. campaign on how to talk about being online and online safety:
Talk to your children about online safety as soon as they are old enough to use a phone, computer or other mobile device. As a parent, you have the opportunity to talk to your child about what’s important before anyone else does.
Create an Honest, Open Environment
Kids look to their parents to help guide them. Be supportive and positive. Listening and taking their feelings into account helps keep conversation afloat. You may not have all the answers, and being honest about that can go a long way. If your child confides in you about something scary or inappropriate they’ve encountered online, try to work together to prevent it from happening again.
Even if your children are comfortable approaching you, don’t wait for them to start the conversation. Use everyday opportunities to talk to them about being online. For instance, a TV program featuring a teen online or using a cell phone can tee up a discussion about what to do — or not to do — in similar circumstances. News stories about internet scams or cyberbullying, for example, also can help start a conversation with kids about their experiences and your expectations.
Communicate Your Values
Be upfront about your values and how they apply in an online context. Communicating your values clearly can help your children make smarter and more thoughtful decisions when they face tricky situations online.
Resist the urge to rush through conversations with your kids. Most children need to hear information repeated, in small doses, for it to sink in. If you keep talking with your children, your patience and persistence will pay off in the long run. Work hard to keep the lines of communication open, even if you learn your child has done something online you find inappropriate.
The Fairfield Police Department would like to encourage residents to follow these tips and be mindful, cautious and kind when using the internet and online.
About Safer Internet Day
Safer Internet Day began in Europe in 2004 in an effort to not only create a safer internet but also a better internet, where everyone is empowered to use technology responsibly, respectfully, critically and creatively. In 2014, the European Commission and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security appointed ConnectSafely as the official U.S. host of Safer Internet Day.
For more information on Safer Internet Day residents can visit: saferinternetday.us.