School’s back in session and kids can’t be monitored 24-7
It’s back-to-school time, and Secretary of State Ruth Johnson is reminding busy parents and school administrators that there’s an effective way to protect children from unwanted online ads and solicitations whether they are online at home, in the classroom or meeting up with friends.
It’s called the Michigan Child Protection Registry and Johnson is promoting the free and secure service that can block adult-oriented ads for products like alcohol, tobacco, pornography and online gambling from reaching their children’s email inboxes, tablets, cell phones or instant messenger IDs.
“It can be a struggle to keep up with what our kids are doing online,” said Johnson, who has a teenage daughter. “Internet service is available in schools, libraries, homes and on cell phones, tablets and laptops. Protecting your child from unwanted Internet content can be a challenge, which is why I am pleased to promote The ‘ProtectMiChild’ website. It offers parents and schools a secure and simple way to put some controls in place regarding the Internet content children see.”
Concerned parents or schools may register the electronic addresses for any devices children use at ProtectMiChild.com. The secured registry is housed on the Secretary of State website at ProtectMiChild.com. Once the child’s cell phone number, email address and Instant Messenger ID are entered into the system, the registry will block adult Internet ads for all the registered contact points for three years or until the youngest child with access to the contact point reaches the age of 18. Companies that send messages that advertise or link to prohibited products or services are required to remove the registered contact email, phone number or IM within 30 days from their mailing lists. ProtectMiChild registrations may be renewed at any time for an additional three-year period.
U.S Census figures from 2014 show that youth under the age of 18 comprise about 22 percent of the state’s population. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, teens spend an average of 2.3 hours per day engaged in electronic communication and recreation (surfing the Internet, playing video games, texting with friends, and viewing TV) and nearly twice as much time on the weekends. There are a number of Internet games, devices and services produced just for preschoolers.
“We live in a digital age,” Johnson said. “To keep our children safe from influences and products that are not age appropriate requires action. The ProtectMiChild Registry provides us with the tools we need to help control the Internet content to which our children are exposed. It’s a great resource and I encourage parents and schools to use it to protect their kids.”
For more information, visit the registry at ProtectMiChild.com.