Tips for youth, and the elderly

Community Service Trooper Geno M. Basanese of the Iron Mountain State Police Post is offering some awareness information for youth and elderly.

Helping elderly residents, and keeping our area children safe while on the internet should be important to Dickinson-Iron county residents.

With statistics that show nearly three in 10 parents (29 percent) let their children use the internet without any restrictions or supervision, the Michigan State Police is reminding parents that while the internet can be a valuable tool, it is also a dangerous place for children.

“Prevention and awareness are key to deterring online predators and exposure to inappropriate material,” Trooper Basanese said. “Children are more likely to be trusting, naive and curious. Diligent parental supervision can help ensure safety on the internet.”

Trooper Basanese offers the following internet safety tips for parents:

– Place technology devices in a common area to allow for observation of the user’s internet activity.

– Create rules for internet use, including hours of use, which sites can be accessed and which sites should not be accessed.

– Create a folder of “bookmarks” or “favorites” appropriate to your child’s age, which they can visit on the computer’s browser.

– Teach your child to never give out personal information, such as home address, phone number, email address, password, photograph, credit card number or school information.

– Create a family email address that your child can use to send and receive messages. Check the account regularly.

– Know who your child is talking to online. Chat room acquaintances are strangers and children should never arrange to meet them face-to-face.

– Teach your child the internet is fun and educational when used appropriately, but some people don’t use it that way. Remind your child that people on the internet may not be who they seem.

– Remember that internet technology can be mobile, so make sure to monitor cell phones, gaming devices and laptops.

For more tips, visit www.netsmartz.org. To report inappropriate contact while on the internet, call the MSP Computer Crimes tip line at 1-877-5CYBER3.

Trooper Basanese also urges area residents to be a good neighbor to senior citizens.

A single act of kindness can go a long way, and with nearly 30 percent of the elderly living at home alone, the Michigan State Police is encouraging area residents to be a friendly neighbor and assist an older person who is in need.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Aging, almost half of older women, age 75 or older, live alone. The proportion of living alone increases with advanced age and can often lead to the elderly not being able to do the simple tasks they once could do before.

“If you’re an able-bodied person, there is likely a task you can do to help out,” Trooper Basanese said. “Even if you’re not physically able to assist, listening and providing companionship can help, too. Often times there are simple things one can do, like helping with yard clean-up, being a good listener or offering to pick up something at the store that can make a real difference in the life of a senior.”

Here are some tips to help engage with the elderly and to make their lives a little easier:

– Be friendly; introduce yourself.

– Provide company; offer to cook a meal.

– Offer to help around the house/yard or with other tasks they are no longer able to do.

– Offer to run errands if you’re going shopping or in to town.

– Help a senior to create an emergency contact list that includes your contact information and place it in an easy to access location in the home.

– Be aware and read the signs of distress. Follow up if you have any concerns about their well-being or suspect suspicious activity.