Today’s children are growing up in a world where they can explore almost anything via computer or mobile phone. This, coupled with an increased reliance on technology in our day-to-day lives, has raised concerns regarding making sure our kids stay safe while utilizing technology. So, what can you do to keep your kids safe online? How can you make sure they’re protected from the dangers and risks that come with the use of the internet?
Our children are the most vulnerable population when it comes to online safety. Therefore, it’s important that parents do all they can to teach kids about using the internet responsibly so they can avoid becoming victims of cyberbullying and online predators. Take a look at these helpful tips to help you keep your kids safe online.
Maintain honest and open communication
One of the best ways to keep children safe online is by ensuring open and honest conversation in your family. Talking to kids about using technology responsibly enables parents to play an active role in helping children understand the potential dangers of unsafe internet use.
As soon as children are old enough to obtain internet access, it’s time to have a conversation about the sites they are visiting and the content they’re reading and viewing online. Ask kids with whom they are communicating via various websites and platforms. Start discussing the risks of cyberbullying and online predators. Children are at a higher risk than adults when it comes to these types of threats, which is why parents must ensure that children are informed.
Highlight the importance of not sharing their personal information or photos with strangers, as this can lead to cyberbullying or harassment. Ensure kids don’t add anyone they don’t know personally into any private online groups or social media accounts. Remind children not to exchange online messages without your permission.
Use antivirus software
Antivirus software and similar programs are essential in making sure your child stays safe online. Make sure you’re running the latest updates to your software on all of the devices to which your child has access. Turn on privacy settings on social media sites and other online accounts. If you have younger kids, you can customize certain parental controls to ensure that their online experiences are safe.
Monitor your child’s internet activity
Many kids simply don’t understand the dangers they may face online, which is why it’s important for parents to remain aware of which types of activities their children are engaging in online. Make sure you know who their friends are on social media or gaming communities so that you can supervise them if necessary.
Also, devices with internet access should be kept in areas of your home where you can see them. Keep devices out of children’s bedrooms or other areas of the home where children’s online use can’t be supervised. Consider checking browser histories after your child has been online so you can keep tabs on which websites are being visited.
Monitor how much screen time your child has each day
Experts recommend that young children should not spend more than one hour per day using electronics and screens, while older kids can give up to two hours per day. Be sure to monitor the amount of time your child spends online each day, curb it according to the recommended limits if needed. It may seem convenient for you to let your child spend long hours on electronic devices and watching TV so you can get work done. However, leaving children unattended and unsupervised during internet use can do more harm than good. Not to mention, excessive screen time can be detrimental to children’s overall health and wellbeing.
Lead by example
Appropriate online behavior and habits start with parents. Be sure to demonstrate good internet etiquette in front of your children so they can emulate appropriately. Be mindful of your own screen time as you exhibit what it means to use the internet responsibly.
The internet provides a valuable source of entertainment and learning for our kids. Make sure your child makes the most of technology while staying safe by following these tips on keeping kids safe online.
For more parenting tips, feel free to visit ABC Academy.