Childrens online safety is of extreme importance today. Most children use tablets or other technological devices to entertain themselves daily. Social media is becoming a trend that children engage in at younger ages than ever before. With new online apps available at every turn, keeping children safe is a challenge that faces parents. Even with age restrictions, most kids know how to get through them without even blinking their eyes. So, how do you keep your children safe while allowing them to engage in the use of technology and online gaming.
While technology continues to advance and change, here are some great tips to follow to help ensure children’s online safety today:
- Keep open lines of communication with your entire family. Talk about what you do online. Talk about who you engage in online conversation. When you create an open forum for your children to discuss online activity, they will feel more comfortable bringing things that don’t seem right to your attention. If you are being open about your online activity, they will find comfort in being open about theirs. Children will be more likely to tell you if someone spoke to them in a strange way, bring uncomfortable posts to your attention, and talk to you about a video that popped up on YouTube that they found inappropriate.
- Keep certain passwords away from your children. Childrens online safety relies heavily on not allowing them full access to anything they want on their device. Your app store should be locked. This will not only save you money, it will prevent children from downloading apps that aren’t age appropriate.
- Educate your children about how online content can affect them now and in the future. Many children are taught that apps like Snapchat don’t allow people to keep what they send. The fact is online content is available for anyone to see. If your child is encouraged to send a compromising photo or talk inappropriately, the recipient can show other people. Even if it’s someone they trust, Snapchat pictures can be kept with a simple screenshot.
- Adjust your privacy settings. Although your children might great annoyed with you, this is important for children’s online safety. Internet browsers, cell phones, and tablets should all have specialized privacy settings that prevent your children from going places online that aren’t safe for them.
- Check for programs with parental controls. There are parental control software programs available such as Net Nanny. This allows you to filter and monitor exactly what your children are doing online.
- Set screen time limits. Some parents choose to make contracts with older children. Timers can be set on devices for younger children, so they become locked out after a certain amount of time. Decide what is fair when you are talking about children’s online safety. You should also discuss what should happen if they are contacted by a stranger online.
- Talk about passwords. Children should be taught how to set strong passwords. This can help protect their accounts, photos, and posts. Private data is protected, and unwanted visitors can’t access their information.
- Keep your computer visible in a common location. You should have line-of-sight to their screen, so you can keep an eye on what’s going on. Your kids will want their privacy, but one of the most important elements of children’s online safety is that you can monitor what they are doing.
- Talk about online reputation. Too often teenagers want to use the internet to portray themselves as what they wish they could be. Talk to them about being careful of how they represent themselves. Also discuss the line between online and real-life.
- Educate your children by being the example. Parents who are constantly on their devices can have a tough battle when trying to set rules when it comes to the internet. Childrens online safety should be taught and backed up by parents who lead by example.
The internet is an incredible tool, but it can also be an incredible threat to your child’s safety. Technology is not going to go away. The best way to ensure your childrens online safety is to teach them to steer clear of potential dangers and present them with an open forum to discuss anything that doesn’t seem right.