How To Keep Your Kids Safe Online

How To Keep Your Kids Safe Online

Back in the ’80s and ‘90s, during the golden era of illegal substance abuse and predators lurking on dark street corners, our parents had a tough job to keep us safe. However, honest heart-to-heart talks, setting a good example, and close monitoring of friends we were hanging with were, in most cases, enough to prevent us from crossing the line. Times have changed since then, though. With the numerous social networks, bizarre Tic-Toc challenges, shady dating apps, email scams, gambling sites, and more within easy reach, it’s become difficult shielding your children from bad influences online.

If you’re a parent yourself, do not fret; there are plenty of precautions you can take to protect your kids from internet predators, and we’re here to walk you through some of the key steps you can take.

 

1. Engage in Open Conversation

It all starts from having an honest heart-to-heart talk. Even though it seems like a no-brainer, many parents don’t know where to start and how not to frighten or intimidate sensitive, often moody teenagers. Start with discussing the sites your children visit, ask why they find them interesting, listen to their opinion and give advice.

Ask about people they interact with online and make sure to check up on their internet friends regularly. Tell them never to agree to meet someone in person that they’ve only met online and explain how easy it can be for people to lie about their identity or post a phony picture. Warn children about the dangers of giving their personal information to strangers and tell them that you’ll occasionally have to spot-check their computers. It might prompt them to self-monitor their online activities. Be honest with them and respect their privacy, though.

 

2. Use Parental Control Software

With the rapid growth of social networks, parental control tools have had to adapt and improve, too. If your child uses social media such as Instagram or TicToc, teach them how to keep their account private and be careful with the content they share, especially when dealing with online-only “friends.”

Make sure to use parental controls settings such as blocking, filtering, and safe search to prevent children from accessing sexually explicit content or violent content. The newest technologies offer services such as limiting screen time, web filtering, YouTube monitoring, geofencing, and remote device locking. It can help protect your children and your material assets from the numerous online scams and predators lurking around. The best part is that you can get real-time alerts about your kids’ online behavior on Windows, Android, and iOS devices, so you can track their activities wherever you are.

 

3. Encourage Healthy Online Habits

Restricting content and preaching online safety to your kids can be effective, but only in moderation. If done too much, it can fend off children and even push them further into risky online activities, as they tend to rebel against their parents and caregivers. Instead of prohibiting, offer alternatives; promote and monitor good online behavior. Teach your kids how to treat other people in the online realm with respect and how to recognize and report cyberbullying.

Encourage them to question and analyze the messages they get through aggressive internet advertisements and be aware of gender stereotypes and racial prejudices. Introduce your children to interesting websites where they can actually learn something, express themself, voice their concerns, support causes, and even create their own artistic or scientific content. The internet can connect the world and be an immense source of helpful information, so long as it is used properly.

 

4. Set a Good Example

None of the advice mentioned above will be applicable if you don’t set a good example yourself. The world is full of parents who demand their kids to stop spending so much time on their phones or computers while staring at their own gadgets for hours on end. Instead, make sure to model how you’d like your kids to use the internet and behave online. Talk about your ow9n bad experiences and share the ways you’ve dealt with them. Limit your own screen time and introduce more healthy outdoor activities.

Remember that your children will follow your example, so make sure to use privacy and security settings in your own social networking platforms and internet browser of choice. Talk about the ways you protect yourself, keep control of your family’s digital footprint, and encourage the younger ones to be selective when sharing files or information online. If you’re oversharing, meeting anonymous people you’ve only seen online, or spending hours in front of a computer or mobile phone, don’t expect your children to do any better.

 

Bottom Line

Long gone are the days when you could flick through your kids’ diary or simply look over the balcony and see who your children are playing with. Modern-day parenting challenges are more complex, and parents find themselves not knowing where to start or how to educate their children while respecting their privacy.

The good news is – you’re not alone in this endeavor. With the help of parental control software and advanced privacy and security features that every browser has, you can have some peace of mind. However, don’t lean on technology only. The core of a good child-parent relationship lies in open and honest communication. So, turn off that phone and start a friendly conversation with your kid.

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