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June is Internet Safety Month and the Richland Police Department has resourceful tips for you and your children about staying safe online.

Signs or red flags to watch for if you suspect your child is being “sextorted”:

• They are receiving gifts in the mail, such as a cell phone, gift cards, or a webcam.
• Your child is calling unknown numbers.
• They turn down invitations with family and friends to spend time online.
• Your child gets upset when they can’t get online.
• Your son or daughter minimizes the screen or turns off the monitor when you approach.

If you’ve noticed any of the above signs or situations, it may be time to have a discussion about internet safety with your child. You may want to establish some electronic rules for the internet.

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Internet Safety Month is for everyone online. CISA.gov recommends the following:

Use strong passwords. “Strong” means at least 16 characters, random, and unique to each account. Use a password manager to automatically generate, store, and fill in passwords for you.
• Turn on multifactor authentication (MFA). MFA provides an extra layer of security in addition to a password when logging into accounts and apps, like a fingerprint, a code from an authenticator app, or a code sent to your phone. Enable it on any account that offers it, especially your email, social media, and financial accounts.
• Update software. When devices, apps, or software programs notify us that updates are available, install them as soon as possible. Updates fix security risks to better protect our data. Turn on automatic updates to make it even easier.
• Recognize and report phishing. Learn to recognize signs of phishing—messages designed to trick you into downloading malware (malicious programs) or giving personal information to a criminal. If an offer is too good to be true, it’s probably social engineering. If the message is alarming and requires urgent action, it might be a phishing message. Do not click or engage—report the phish and delete the message.

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