With many aspects of our lives going digital, our kids spend more and more time on the internet. Whether it is for school classes, talking with friends and family, or only playing games, most kids spend a lot of time online.
With online predators and cyber-attacks posing a significant threat, it is crucial to make sure your kids stay safe online and in real life. To help you protect your child, we’ve compiled the top four ways you can keep your children safe online.
1. Monitor the Sites Your Child Uses
You may want to control the sites your child visits to ensure they are only visiting trusted pages.
While it is easy to check the history of a family computer, there are ways to observe what sites your child visits when they are away from home. There are several apps you can download for monitoring internet activities while your child is on their phones or other devices.
You can also enable a safe search option in your browser to limit the type of content your child can access. Most devices also offer parental controls to restrict sites and videos with illicit content to prevent your child from seeing anything dangerous on accident.
2. Talk to Your Kids About the Dangers of the Internet
Since everything they see online is accessible from home and behind a screen, it is essential to remind your children that strangers on the internet are still strangers.
Children often don’t realize how giving out identifying information such as their address or phone number could be dangerous. Tell them to ask you before filling out any online forms or providing any sites with personal information.
Online predators often try to pose as other children. They may request photos of your child or send photos that they claim are of themselves. Tell your child not to download or upload any images without your help or permission.
If your child begins receiving questionable photos from anyone online, you should report it immediately to the police and your internet service provider.
3. Keep Devices in a Common Area
It can be surprising how keeping a computer in a centralized location can significantly impact how your child uses the computer.
Sometimes kids know that what they are doing or looking at is inappropriate but will still do so if they think they won’t get caught. If they believe that you or another adult will see what they are doing, it will discourage them from looking up things they know they shouldn’t.
With many school classes taking place online, it is also important to tell them not to start any video calls in their room. Ensure that they are in a common area so that you can keep an eye on what they are doing.
4. Address Cyber-Bullying
Kids must know the dangers of cyber-bullying and how their words can affect others.
Remind them that just as it is essential to be kind and understanding when talking to someone in person, it is just as important when interacting with anyone online. Let them know that sharing any mean, discriminatory, or inappropriate sentiments is entirely unacceptable.
Encourage them to talk to you if you think they may be experiencing cyber-bullying and learn how to report it.
The internet provides access to a wealth of knowledge but can be dangerous for a child if left unattended. Ensure that your kids know what sites are acceptable for them to use and that they should alert you if they see something that seems wrong.
By monitoring your child’s digital activity and keeping an open dialogue with them about safe practices, you will be able to provide them with the highest level of security.