When you’re a parent of young kids or teenagers, one of the most difficult parts to manage can be keeping an eye on what they watch, stream, and look at online. After all, the dangers of the internet are very real, and for kids who don’t know the proper safety precautions, certain things like your privacy and security could be at risk.
As nearly every home has access to the internet through internet service providers, the following tips are tasks you can do to help your child browse safely and teach them which sites are fair game and which will wreak havoc on your devices and on their safety.
#1. Discuss the Dangers
Perhaps the easiest step you can take is just sitting down with your kids and explaining the differences between appropriate and inappropriate and safe and unsafe internet behaviors. Polls that have been conducted in the past year concluded that many kids who are using the internet are either unaware of the dangers online or they don’t care.
Talking to your child can be the best first route to take, and if that doesn’t work, there are certainly other avenues to explore.
#2. Keep Electronic Devices in Public Spaces
Though it will probably make you feel like the uncool parent, keeping the household computer in a public, common space can be a good way to keep an eye on your child. Of course in 2020, most kids do have their own laptops, tablets, or cell phones for schoolwork and communicating with friends, but making it a house rule that electronics should stay in the living room or kitchen for the night will help set boundaries.
#3. Know The Other Computers Your Kids Are Using
Kids can get access to other computers through a number of ways, including at school and at friends’ houses. Though most schools have firewalls and restrictions of which sites students can visit, having a chat with other parents about the dangers and risks of poor online behavior can help educate others and reduce the chances of your kids running into problems online.
#4. Give the Stranger Danger Talk
Every kid knows the stranger danger rule at some point or another, but what about strangers online that seem harmless? Teaching your kids this can be imperative. That nice-looking girl they’ve been chatting with could be someone else entirely because it’s easy to lie behind an avatar. Also, be sure to emphasize that personal information should never, ever be given out to a stranger online. Phone numbers, addresses, and the name of their school are especially useful to predators online who may try to find the kids they talk to in person.
#5. Make Time For Family Browsing
Browsing online with your kids can be fun, and also a good opportunity to teach them about online safety and show them age-appropriate websites.
#6. Their Passwords Are Your Passwords
When kids start getting into passwords, situations can get much more complicated. Always know the passwords to your children’s accounts. If they’re especially young, make the account in your name and keep the passwords in a safe location where they’re accessible to you.
#7. Monitor Your Child’s Behavior
Some of the tell-tale signs that something odd is going on in your child’s life can be detected from their behavior and body language. If they begin to act more withdrawn or defensive, there could be a chance that they’re either being cyber-bullied or targeted by online predators, which happens more often than most people know. If you see any behavioral shifts, talk to them about it.
#8. Check Out Their Browsing History
Looking in the History tab of a web browser is the best way to find which sites your child visited last.
#9. Use Antivirus Software
Since there are still some adults who can’t easily detect spam emails or scams, children are especially susceptible to risks online. Installing antivirus software on their devices is a great way to not only keep their electronics safe from malware and viruses but also to keep your child away from potentially dangerous sites.
#10. Keep A Set Of Rules
Rules aren’t fun for anyone, but they’re necessary, especially when it comes to children and the internet. Setting limits for how long your child is allowed to be online can be beneficial, as well as installing spam blockers to prevent them from visiting inappropriate websites.