The internet can be a dangerous place for anyone, but especially children. How does a parent keep their child safe online with all the social media outlets available to them now? The internet gives predators easy access to children from all over the world. When hiding behind a computer screen, a person can pretend to be anyone they please. While adults may not be so easily misled, many kids just don’t know enough about internet safety to know any better.
Four Important Tips for Helping to Keep Kids Safe Online:
1. Take the time to discuss internet safety with your children.
Parents need to take the time to discuss the possible dangers of meeting people online with their kids. Many kids do not take internet safety as seriously as they should and will never learn to do so unless their parents take the time to warn them of the dangers.
Let your children know what topics can and cannot be shared online. Any identifying information is always better left unsaid. However, many kids share certain information without realizing that it could lead a predator straight to them. Kids need to keep private information, including their name, school, sports teams, address, hometown, and daily schedule, private. This is also true for websites that ask for private information. If a child is unsure of whether to provide certain information, it is always better to ask a parent or other adult for guidance.
2. Talk about cyber bullying.
Strangers are not the only people that parents need to worry about. Cyber bullying is another real danger. The internet makes it easy for children to publicly and privately tease, bully, and harass one another. Parents need to discuss the severity of cyber bullying and encourage their children to come to them if they become the victim of an online bully.
3. Make children share their usernames and passwords.
Nowadays, many children belong to several social networking sites, use e-mail, and chat with friends using messengers. Make an agreement with your children that if they are going to use these sites and services, they must let you have the password to these accounts. Explain that this is not to violate their privacy, but to keep them safe. This will allow parents to see what information their child is sharing, as well as give the child a good reason to be on their best behavior.
4. Use your parental controls.
Many internet service providers and web browsers have parental control features that parents can use. These features allow parents to limit the amount of time that a child can spend online, restrict access to certain sites or materials, monitor a child’s internet activity, and filter inappropriate content. Parents can even set different controls for different children. This is one of the best ways for parents to make sure that their kids aren’t seeing or doing anything they shouldn’t be.
If a parent wants to make sure that their child is safe, they will need to get involved in their internet usage. Internet safety is extremely important. By discussing possible online dangers, limiting a child’s internet access, and monitoring their activity, parents will be able to keep their children safe from a wide range of dangers.