According to a recent survey, cyberbullying rates have tripled within the last year. With summer in full swing and tweens and teens having even more time to spend on the computer and their smartphones, those rates are only expected to rise. Social media sites like Instagram and Facebook continue to draw in teens and tweens. Sites such as Snapchat even create the illusion that messages and pics are only temporary, but you know as well as I do that nothing is ever really "erased" from the Internet. And goofy pictures or nasty comments posted today could come back to haunt your child for many years to come.

The findings from the survey — which was conducted by the security team at McAfee — are summarized in the infographic below. In addition to the startling increase in cyberbullying, any parent would probably be disturbed to learn that half of all kids have gotten in an argument over something posted online while almost half, 49 percent, have posted something that they later regretted. And do I even need to mention how scary it is that 14 percent of teens surveyed had posted their home address online?

Now is a good time to go over the rules of privacy with your child and remind them about your expectations when it comes to sharing and posting on social media sites. Check out more info staying safe online in the infographic below and then keep reading for the top five tips to protect your kids online.

Teens and online safety

Top 5 tips for parents:

1. Connect with your kids. Casually talk to them about the risks of all online connections and make sure the communication lines are open.

2. Gain access. Parents should have passwords for their children’s social media accounts and passcodes to their children’s devices to have full access at any given moment.

3. Learn their technology. Stay one step ahead and take the time to research the various devices your kids use. You want to know more about their devices than they do.

4. Get social. Stay knowledgeable about the newest and latest social networks. You don’t have to create an account, but it is important to understand how they work and if your kids are on them.

5. Reputation management. Make sure your kids are aware anything they post online does not have an expiration date.

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