Ways to Keep Your Kids Safe When Online
Just like the real world, the internet has a seedy side that kids can easily stray into. A seemingly innocent search on bunnies can quickly turn up raunchy images of women wearing skimpy bunny costumes. Porn, excessive violence, misinformation and hate group rhetoric flourish online. Here are some ways to protect your children from the wrong information and online predators:
Getting Involved Online – It is important for parents to be involved in their children’s online activities. Just as it is imperative to check the safety of your child’s playground such as the jungle gyms and swings, it is also essential to check your child’s online playground. It may seem excessive to keep checking on his or her online activity, but playing co-pilot is the only way to ensure you kid’s safety. When the child reaches the age of seven however, being constantly glued to his or her side will not be required. However, it is still important to be in the room during internet usage.
Setting House Rules – Determine the amount of time that you would like your kids to spend online and make a list of the websites that they can visit without your approval. You should talk about the rules with your children and the consequences of breaking them. Posting a short contract or a list of websites they can visit next to the computer is a great reminder for your kids. If there are multiple children in the home, you can set times for certain children to use the computer.
Protecting their Privacy – Whether you are an adult or child, protecting your privacy is one of the tenets of proper internet usage. Even if your child may be too young to know the consequences of revealing personal information online, you should let your kids know the importance of privacy protection. Teach them that they should never reveal their real name, phone number, e-mail, school, age, password and address online. You should also teach them not to open e-mails from unknown senders and to refrain from answering back to hurtful and disturbing messages. The most important lesson of all is to not get together with strangers or so-called friends they met online.
Place Your Computer in a Visible Area – To ensure easy monitoring, you should place your computer in a central location. Even if you have multiple computers, keep those connected to the internet in a highly visible place. This is a way for you to keep tabs on your child’s internet activity.
Be the Consultant – Get your children to come to you when they see something uncomfortable and disturbing whether it be in real life or online. Reassure him or her that you will not overreact, blame him or her or immediately remove his or her internet privileges.
Your ISP Is Your Friend – Before buying extra internet safety software, you should work with your internet service provider or ISP first. Certain internet browsers such as America Online! and Yahoo have free and reliable parental controls. These parental controls can limit your child’s activity to certain websites and disable certain communication channels such as e-mail, chat room, and instant messaging. It also screens websites for age-appropriate content taking note of the time of log-in, type of searches and other choices.
Author’s Bio: David Anderson is a freelance writer, professional blogger, and social media enthusiast. His blog Internetserviceproviders.org focuses on telecom bloggers and technology bloggers.