If you’re like many parents, you do your best to keep your children safe. You’ve probably taught them how to cross the road, how to defend themselves from bullies, and how to avoid the flu. But have you taught them how to use the Internet safely?
With kids learning to use smartphones from a tender age, they’re increasingly exposed to cyberbullying. Many teenagers spend at least two hours online daily. And even if they spend their time constructively, they are not safe from malware and cyber-attacks.
In this article, we explore six of the best ways to keep your children safe from the Internet.
Talk to your Children about Online Safety
A large number of parents has no clue what their kids do online. That means they neither monitor their kids’ devices nor warn them about the dangers of the Internet. Surprisingly, you can prevent harm to your children by teaching them how to stay safe online.
Shelagh McManus of Norton Security tells her kids not to do anything online that they wouldn’t do in real life. That’s great advice. Teach your kids not to talk to online strangers or share their personal information with them.
Teaching your kids your tips for avoiding online bullies, malware, and creeps can undoubtedly help them stay safer. It also helps them open up to you in case they’re bullied or feel targeted by cybercriminals.
Monitor your Kids’ Devices
When you purchase a laptop for your child, become the administrator. That will help you oversee what your kid does and set or change passwords for their account. Your child might think you’re protrusive, but at least you’ll keep them safe from the Internet.
For teenagers who might oppose you trying to monitor them, use parental controls. These software programs are easy to use and work like a charm. Find the best apps for parental control, and you’ll never have to worry about how your teenage kids use the Internet.
If you configure the apps to block all social media networks, your child can’t access any of her accounts. If you limit your son’s gaming time to two hours a day, that’s how long they can play. What’s more, the controls also protect your kids from hackers. They also keep you updated with what your kid does with her devices.
Have a Communal Area for Internet use
Your home’s communal area could be the living room or the dining area. It doesn’t matter as long as you can view the laptops and phones as your kids surf the Internet. The goal is to ensure you can quickly access your child’s mobile device when you want to monitor it.
When the devices are all located in one place, it also becomes difficult for your kids to visit prohibited websites. Of course, teenagers are more difficult to monitor even when they browse the Internet in front of you. But for younger kids, a single browsing area helps you monitor their activities more effectively.
Examine your kids’ Online Friends
For pre-teen children, make a point of knowing their online friends. Send a friend request to your child on Facebook. Follow them on Twitter and Instagram. That way, you get a notification when they make a tweet or when they’re tagged on Facebook.
Receiving the notifications helps you monitor both your child and their online friends. You can view comments published on your kids’ posts and evaluate what impact they might add to your child.
Monitor your Kids’ Photos
In 2019, digital pictures are some of the most shared things online. With nearly all social networks encouraging people to share their best images, people go to extreme lengths to publish the most liked photos.
The problem with that culture is that it encourages people, including kids, to share extremely personal pictures. And as you know, the Internet never forgets. Even if the images are deleted, there’s always a chance someone saved the photos.
Teach your Kids about Privacy Settings
Privacy settings help Internet users limit the number of people who view their posts. It also encourages them to enjoy the benefits of social networks without revealing unnecessary content to strangers.
For starters, teach your child how to turn off geotagging features. That helps keep their location private at all times. In the past, criminals have stalked people using geo-location features, so turning these settings off helps.
There are more privacy configurations on most devices and social networks. Things like limiting the people who view your posts to friends alone can help your kids keep their circles small. Utilize several of the privacy configurations to ensure your child only shares her content with the people closest to her.
Limit Screen Time
Numerous online safety research centers recommend parents to limit their kids’ screen time to less than four hours a day. Australia’s department of health, for instance, recommends two hours of screen time.
Of course, you might have to compromise when dealing with teenagers that love to play online video games. But ensure you set a limit on their gaming time at the end of the day. For pre-teen kids, however, have strict screen time limits.
Unless you stay updated about social networks and Internet security trends, you can’t effectively monitor your kids. Worse, you could fall for cybercriminals and bullies because you won’t know how to protect yourself.
Being a tech-savvy parent means studying social trends and using the Internet a lot, but it’s worth protecting your family. It can also help you become an expert in the subject so that you can teach others to protect their kids too.
Although kids learn so much from the Internet, they can also be harmed by it. Cyberbullies are always looking for new targets, and they tend to go after the most vulnerable Internet users.
To protect your kids, teach them how to browse safely using the tips shared above. Limit their screen time using parental controls or actively monitor them when you’re around. They might not like it, but you’ll help keep them safe.