Keep Your Child Safe on the Internet
A decade ago, parents of young children had the choice to either significantly limit the time their children spent online or to even disallow internet use entirely for their kids. Today, the internet has become so sewn into the fabric of modern society that children simply have a necessity to be online, if nothing else, then for learning and homework as soon as they start school.
Perhaps the last decade should have been spent more in preparing for exactly that kind of ubiquitous internet presence in our home and families, instead of thinking of ways to limit kids’ usage of the internet and contemporary media. Rather than limitation, a whole new world of options is opened for the modern parent to keep their child safe online and make sure their kids know everything from identifying dangerous internet sites to knowing how to keep personal information safe.
Use child lock tools
Basic child lock and privacy protection tools come in handy and ensure online safety for small children. As long as modern media and the internet have been available to mainstream audiences in developed markets, child lock tools have been available on most devices, operating systems, browsers, and even trusted video content websites. Your teenager, tween or even second-grader will most likely figure out how to get around these child lock tools more quickly than you ever will. But with smaller children they do the job and save you the headache of having to keep glancing at the device your child is using at the time. Before you let your small child hop on a connected device and surf away, ensure that you keep them away from those dangerous internet sites by taking a few minutes to set up an account just for them on the smartphone or laptop they’re using. Then make sure to limit the features for that account so that they’re all child-appropriate. This can usually be done by just a few clicks or by labeling the account as a child account, an option usually available in most operating systems and browsers.
Stay one step ahead of your child
This is a must for the parents of today’s young teenagers. While it’s next to impossible to stay on top of the latest internet trends or consume more online content than today’s average teenager, there are certainly ways to follow what’s new, the latest popular websites, and the latest features and dangers on the internet. Among the many great things that the information age has brought us, one of the greatest is the ability to have news and latest information of our choice at our fingertips or delivered straight to our inboxes. Be sure to use that privilege of the modern age. Aside from regularly scouring the web for things that are the latest fad among your child’s peers, set up Google Alerts to be delivered to your email daily or weekly for internet-related topics that might interest your kid or their age group in general. An added bonus is the sheer awe in your teenage child’s face when they realize mom and dad know all about that cool new website or rising star on YouTube.
Teach your child safety and learn with them too
Parents teach and follow their child’s development in almost every skill. We also know the dangers of traffic, but we don’t forbid our children from ever crossing the street. Instead we teach them to do these everyday necessities in a way that ensures their safety, privacy, and well-being. It should be no different with the internet. Your child is also likely to learn plenty about internet usage and online safety at school. In fact, they might soon end up one step ahead of you in this realm. As children grow, building a bond and a trust factor between child and parent is paramount to the relationship and this particularly comes across in their online interactions and attitude towards the online world. When children are younger, instead of limiting their time spent on the internet, choose to supervise that time instead and find activities to do together. As your child grows and begins using social networks and instant messaging, make sure there is enough of a trust factor between you to share some of the space and activities on those networks. By the time your child works their way to being a complete, trusting, young adult, try to follow new online developments and trends together and learn from each other to make sure everyone knows what they need to know today about keeping personal information safe and staying healthy and whole in the digital age