With six children in his family, Troy Bangert knows how social media can get his teens in trouble.
"We have had problems with social media," said the 47-year-old contractor from West Jordan, noting that his older children use Twitter and Facebook. "Kids don't know the consequences."
That's why Bangert and his family are eager to check out a new online portal from iKeepSafe that teaches parents how to protect their children from the hazards of the Internet and digital devices.
iKeepSafe (the Internet Keep Safe Coalition) is an alliance of corporations, educators, technology experts and others that develops education materials on how to deal with today's technology. The organization, founded by Utah's former first lady, Jacalyn Leavitt, launched the free iKeepSafe portal during an event Thursday at the Utah Foster Care Foundation in Murray.
"You are the first generation of parents that have to deal with digital devices," Leavitt told a room full of foster parents and their children.
"We're putting at the fingertips of parents the tools to make this easy," she added.
The iKeepSafe toolkit is at http://www.ikeepsafe.org/ikeepsafe-parent-toolkit/, and it's based on what the organization calls the "3 KEEPS for Parents." They are keep current, keep communicating and keep checking, three rules that parents should have in mind when monitoring their children's Internet activity.
The site includes a guide to Facebook, a series of videos about Internet security and how to maintain your child's reputation online, a section for parents with resources and news, and a group of videos and books with "Faux Paw the Websurfing Techno Cat" to teach children about safely using the Internet. The information was developed with Internet consultants, educators and government leaders. The toolkit was also developed to be distributed in public and private schools, school districts, corporations and governments.
"You don't have to be an Internet expert to keep your children safe," Leavitt said. "We want parents to know how easily they can access the tools."