If your kid's a gamer, use these questions to probe deeper: Do you like multiplayer games -- and why? Help them set privacy settings to limit the contacts in their games.The strategy: We often tell kids not to talk to strangers or share personal information, but a kid's online relationships can feel just as real as their offline ones.Also, sharing sexy pictures or being overtly sexual online leaves an unwanted legacy, with or without creepy adults, so we need to teach kids about being mindful about their digital footprint.Plus, having nude pictures of a minor -- even if you a minor -- is against the law and teens can get into legal trouble as a result.Find out how they chat -- is it through an app or through their phone's SMS texting?(If they're using an app, it won't be easy for you to see it, so ask to do occasional spot checks.) Make rules around who they can chat with -- for instance, only people they know in real life. What would you do if someone you didn't know contacted you?Christine Elgersma wrangles learning and social media app reviews and creates parent talks as Senior Editor, Parent Education.
The strategy: First, stay on top of what your kid is doing online by asking them which apps, games, and other tech they use. Set rules about times and places for device use -- for example, banning phones and tablets from bedrooms.
Every parent worries about online predators at some point.
And while it's smart to be cautious, the facts show that it's actually fairly rare for kids to be contacted by adult strangers seeking sexual communication.
If the concerns below ring true, use some of these strategies to be proactive in protecting your kids -- they'll make your kid safer and help you feel a lot better.
The strategy: More than inspiring fear in our kids, we want to arm them with information.