Tips On Keeping Your Kids Safe While Online
Anything and everything can be accessed through the internet. Regardless if you’re looking for contractors within your area or researching something that’s dated ten years ago, you’ll surely find a reliable resource online. This accessibility can make life easier and more convenient, but on the other side of the coin, it can also become the reason why your safety and security will be put on the line. The same is especially true when kids are using the internet. Their innocence makes them susceptible to data breaches and other cybersecurity issues.
Any content that your kids will have access to can contribute to their development. More often than not, they would mimic violence and abuse once they see it on screen. If you want your kids to avoid this kind of behavior, pay attention to the following online safety advice:
1. Set limits.
If you allow your kids to have unlimited screen time, you’ll increase the chances of them accessing websites that they shouldn’t. They might be watching a cartoon on YouTube, but because of an ad, they might end up visiting a website that isn’t suitable for their age. The solution? Set limits on how long should they use their gadgets. If your kids are already attending school, you can let them use their gadgets for two hours during weekdays, as long as they have already finished their schoolwork. You can let them use their gadgets for longer hours during the weekend.
2. Get monitoring software.
Checking the online activity of your kids can be easy if you’re a stay-at-home parent. But if you have a full-time job and other responsibilities on your plate, you might not be able to do that. If you want your kids to be safe online 24/7, buy a monitoring software. This can be your first line of defense, especially if your kids are fond of using their smartphones when browsing the internet.
3. Know their passwords.
Aside from checking different content online, kids nowadays will have their own social media accounts, which they use to share posts and communicate with their friends. Usually, kids will talk with their friends through different group chats online. To know your kids’ online activities, ask for their passwords. This includes the passwords of all their social media profiles and emails. Once you have this information, regularly check their accounts to know what they are accessing and posting. Carefully assess their online chats as well.
4. Teach them to protect their privacy.
All of your efforts to protect your kids’ privacy will be useless if your kids won’t do their own share. Sure, you might be lecturing them about the dangers of the internet, but if they themselves share their private information, nothing will change. If your kids are already old enough to understand instructions, teach them how to protect their privacy. You can start by telling them to:
- Never give their personal information, namely their home address, email address, and contact numbers through the internet.
- Never open emails or personal messages from people they don’t know or those that have shady subject lines.
- Never respond to messages or comments that are disrespectful or disturbing;
- Never meet alone with a person whom they only met online.
5. Be their go-to person.
Communication is key to ensure that your kids are always safe online. After laying down all of your rules, instruct your kids to talk to you whenever they come across content that makes them feel uncomfortable. Educate them about the dos and don’ts of the World Wide Web and let them talk to you the moment someone goes against them. Assure them that whatever they will tell you, you won’t overreact, blame or punish them by taking away their online privileges. Let them understand why you want to be in the loop with all of their online activities.
6. Check the browsing history of your child.
After your kids have put down their gadgets, take the time to check their browsing history. Depending on the age of your kids, they might not be aware that such a feature is actually available. If your kids delete their browsing history, casually ask them about it. Don’t be defensive or angry with your approach when talking, but allow them to explain their side.
Your Efforts Can Go A Long Way
The internet can be a goldmine of information, but as a parent or guardian, you should always guide your kids whenever they’re using it. You should direct them towards the right path so they can fully enjoy the internet without putting their safety and identity at risk. Follow the tips from this article for you to achieve this goal—just make sure that you’re consistent and patient with your efforts!