To say the Internet is a jungle is an understatement. We all know what’s out there, and lucky for us, adults, we know how to protect ourselves – at least, generally speaking. While there’s no question about the benefits of this technology outweighing the dangers, it’s simply too much for kids to handle. That’s why as parents, you need to do the protecting yourselves.
Here are tips to help keep your children on the safe side of the web:
Know their activities.
You need to get involved in what your kids do online just as you make sure their playground around the corner is safe: no sharp edges, swings firmly bolted in place, anti-fall devices, and so on. It may be harder to sift through 150 pages of Spiderman web pages, you need to do it and just find an efficient way how. Perhaps you can stop checking their browsing history when they turn 8 or 9, but you still need to check on them every now and then.
Set house rules.
This is very important. You need to have concrete rules about using the computer, and if possible, write them down, signed by you and your kids, and post the “contract” in a spot just next to the computer. This will make sure there won’t be any confusion or excuses. Very importantly, be firm with the punishment for breaking the rules. Otherwise, there’s no use having them in the first place.
Educate them about privacy.
This is probably the first thing your kids need to learn as far as protecting themselves is concerned. While they may never understand the importance of maintaining their privacy online, patiently teach them a few basic safeguards. For example, tell them never to give their name, phone number, address (physical and digital), password, and the like unless you give them permission. They should also never open emails from unknown senders, reply to disturbing messages, or get together with anyone they only “met” online. Visit privacyparent.com to learn more about online kid safety.
Keep the computer in a public space in the home.
With the computer in a central area in your home, it would be easier to check on your kids while they’re online. It’s also a way to train them to have an open attitude about their web activities, instead of helping them develop a tendency to sneak behind your back when they get a chance, such as when they’re all alone in their room.
Be best friends with your search engine.
Finally, did you know that your search engine can be manipulated to set restrictions, such as blocking sites with pornographic or violent material? Look for Settings on your browser and search for something like Family Filters. It works differently for different browsers, but the idea is the same. This may not work for older kids though because they can always undo the settings any time. But for younger ones, this will surely work like a charm. Discover more about online safety at https://edition.cnn.com/2017/08/03/health/online-predators-parents-partner/index.html.