AG's guide details dangerous products of 2015, offers helpful tips

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is releasing a list of toys and children's products that have been recalled in the past year.

Madigan's office says she'll be joined by consumer product safety advocates on Monday to issue her annual Safe Shopping Guide.

Her office says the list is aimed at ensuring a safe holiday season.

Madigan says this year's guide also will include ways for parents to keep their children safe online.

"Today's kids are interested and skilled in the latest technology," said Madigan. "While there are many benefits to our kids using technology, there are pitfalls and dangers every parent should be aware of. Luckily, implementing a few rules and practices can promote safe and positive online experiences for our children." 

Recent data illustrate the need for parents to be more aware of how their children are using technology and engaging others online. For example, while 91 percent of parents believe they are well informed about what their teens do online and on their cell phones, only 21 percent of teens think their parents are very well informed about their online behavior. In addition, approximately 93 percent of parents say they have set rules or limits regarding Internet use, but these rules do not include parents checking their children's online behavior.

To help parents navigate these issues, this year's guide offers tips for parents to create safe and positive online experiences for children of all ages:

1.         Maintain open communication with your child about technology and the appropriate uses of it.
2.         Make sure your child knows they cannot be anonymous on the Internet.
3.         Talk to your child about what should never be posted online and the dangers of posting too much information.
4.         Explain that posting online is just like writing in permanent marker - it cannot be erased.
5.         Engage your child in continuous conversations about how to behave online.
6.         Complete a "use agreement" with your child and talk about respecting others online. Establish and enforce household rules for technology usage.
7.         Discuss why strong passwords are important, how to create them and the need to keep them private. Obtain all passwords for devices and apps.
8.         Stay informed on your child's Internet habits, review their user history and observe their social media activity. Know who their friends and followers are.
9.         Be aware of changes in your child's behavior that may indicate cyberbullying.
10.        Never threaten to take away your child's phone or Internet access. This could prevent them from approaching you in the future about online problems.

Consumers can view and download the 2015 Safe Shopping Guide at Madigan's website or by calling the Attorney General's Recall Hotline for a print copy at 1-888-414-7678.

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