Kids these days are digital wizards; having grown up with the Internet they can’t imagine life without it. While the Internet can be a great resource, the simple click of a mouse can contain numerous risks. Whether it’s setting house rules or talking to your children, it’s important to keep your child’s online safety a priority, here’s how:
Do your homework
You wouldn’t drop your kid off at a new day care or friend’s house without first doing your research, so why should it be any different online? The Internet is a digital playground for children, so it’s important to educate yourself on the capabilities of different devices as well as the sites and applications your child is using before you set them loose.
Warn about dangers
Have a conversation about the risks of the Internet so that your child knows what suspicious behavior to be on the lookout for as well as the consequences for their actions. A few talking points may include:
- Never provide any personal information such as their name, phone number, address, e-mail address, birthdate, etc. – without your permission.
- As the saying goes “don’t talk to strangers”, this applies online too.
- What you post on the Internet can never be erased, so think wisely before you post a picture or a comment.
Set house rules
You may want to set clear guidelines for digital usage and talk these over with your children so they know what is expected of them. You may decide to limit the amount of time they are allowed to spend online, where they can use their devices and what sites or applications they are allowed to use.
Set up security tools and privacy settings
There are many ways you can control what your child can access and view online. One way to limit access to certain sites and content is to turn on parental control settings in web browsers and search engines. The procedures for doing so are different for each browser and search engine, but a simple Google search will give you step-by-step directions.
Look into parental control software
If you are looking for extra protection consider investing in parental control software, such as ContentWatch Net Nanny 7 or Qustodio Parental Control. Whether you want to limit screen time or simply track their social media, a parental control utility gives you the power to monitor your child’s online activity.
Keep open lines of communication
Encourage your children to ask questions when they are unsure about something or have encountered a problem online, after all this is a learning process.
Navigating the Internet can be overwhelming for both you and your children, but by following these simple tips you can avoid potential risks and reap the benefits of this great resource.
For more security tips to keep you and your family safe, visit TruStoneFinancial.org/protect.
Editor’s Note: Segments in the article were taken from pcmag.com, us-cert.gov, parenting.com and scholastic.com.