The Internet can provide a wealth of knowledge for your kids, especially when it comes to completing homework assignments and getting extra help with that tough report. However, despite its ability to help your kids, it can also hurt them. A number of predatory adults surf the net along with your kids, but there are several ways that you can protect your children from becoming a target.
Look up the history on the computer your child uses to ensure they aren’t looking at sites they shouldn’t be. If you’re not sure how to go about this, learn the operating system of the computer and how to access the history.
The more older kids believe their parents can’t follow up on what they’re looking at, the more likely they are to go to sites they shouldn’t be.
When you first set up your child’s computer, restrict their access to adult sites by setting parental controls.
When you set up an administrative account, you can block certain sites so your kids can’t view videos or access chat rooms where predators might get in touch with them.
Don’t allow kids under 16 to comment on YouTube videos where adults might try and strike up a conversation with them.
Don’t allow your kids to have access to a computer while they’re alone in the bedroom. Keep the computer in the family room or den.
If the room has a door, it should remain open if the kids are online. Make this a non-negotiable rule.
Many schools today are teaching kids about computer use as early as kindergarten. Sit your kids down and explain in simple terms about Internet predators and how to stay safe.
Let them know they should never speak to strangers online, just as they shouldn’t on the street or anywhere else. The more they know, the better they can protect themselves.
More and more children are using social media today, and even kids under the age of ten have their own Facebook accounts. However, the more of a presence your children have online, the more exposed they are to strangers and predators.
Children under the age of 13 should not have their own account, and older children and teens should be carefully monitored on any social media site.
If your family uses a social site to keep in touch with family, keep in mind that any photos they might post aren’t always private.
Older teens who have an account on Facebook should be careful about posting photos, and remind them to never share personal information while they are on the site.
While your kids should have fun when they’re online, using common sense can go a long way in keeping them safe as well.
Avoiding chat rooms and encounters with strangers, staying on sites that are age-appropriate, and the understanding that they’re being monitored can all help them enjoy their online experience, no matter what their age.