You have a child that is becoming old enough to surf the web. You are well aware of the fact that the internet can be a useful homework tool, as well as a danger zone for kids- and adults. However, let’s focus on the kids for now. You, as the parent are understandably concerned about the fact that there is that high possibility that your child may come across disturbing content such as porn and gruesome images to name a few. Additionally, there are other dangerous aspects of the world wide web and whenever you think about those- you will not want your child to use the internet at all, ever!
The fact of the matter is, if you do not allow your child to go online, he or she will find a way to access the internet behind your back- which would be far worse. Additionally, the internet can provide your child with a wealth of information when it comes to researching homework assignments. Therefore, don’t stop your kids from going online. Instead, you need to educate yourself on how to make sure that your kids stay safe online!
Below are five tips that you can utilize to keep your kids safe while they are surfing the world wide web:
1. Get great quality parental control software
This is the first step to take before your kids start going online. The point of this kind of protective software is to make sure that settings are set to the inability for dangerous sites to be accessible such as pornographic sites, anything about violence and hate, and anything else that can teach your kids about the dark web- and so on!
Additionally, if your kids start going on social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, the software allows parents to keep tabs on what their kids are doing. In fact, parents will be able to monitor their kids’ internet activities in general. The software can be installed on various devices as well as laptops. There are plenty of brands around that provide parental control software. If you are unsure of what the best one to use, PC Mag has a list of the ones available to you.
2. Teach your kids about online stranger danger
Parents are quite aware of the fact that there are a lot of bad people around, that go beyond child predators. These individuals with ill intentions will find ways to chat with children and pretend that they are their peers. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the parent to stress to their kids that they cannot speak to anyone privately online who they don’t know! They can only chat with their friends from school and family! Not to mention, you will be able to monitor your child’s online activities as long as any child protective software has been installed.
There is only one situation where talking to strangers online is acceptable. And that is if your kids need help with homework and hop onto a public forum to ask a question about the problem they need to solve. People will help them by replying answers to them publicly, and the interaction would end right there.
At the same time, kids need to understand never to answer private messages sent to them on the forum or any platform for that matter from people who they don’t know.
3. Make it clear to your kids that sharing pictures online is forbidden
Did you know that anything that is shared online stays on the internet forever? It does not matter whether or not pictures or written content is shared. Once anything is uploaded from your PC or smartphone to any online platform and sent off- it’s out there for good. Even after the content is deleted- from your end anyway.
To keep your kids safe online, they must be aware of the dangers of sharing their pictures. This kind of danger is not only due to online predators getting a hold of them. If there are classmates who don’t like them, they can easily get access to their pictures and as a result, can create ways for your child to become a target to cyberbullying!
That also means if your child sends a picture privately to a friend of theirs- that friend may have the same intention as the classmates that don’t like your child! The last thing you ever want to see happen is that your child becomes a cyberbullying victim.
According to Psych Central, suicides are happening a lot more due to cyberbullying! This is extremely disturbing to hear, but at the same time, critical to know to help keep your child safe.
4. Teach your kids how to protect their privacy
Your kids won’t quite get the concept of why it is so important not to share personal information on their own. Make it clear to them that they must never share their names, dates of birth, addresses, email information, and phone numbers to anyone. Additionally, whenever they are choosing a username- they must choose something random that does not give anyone clues about their names or birth dates.
For instance, if a boy named Steven born on January 18, 2003, must never call himself steveman11803. That is enough information for an online predator to find out what they need to locate him! Steve needs to create a username like @hockeymansteve. By the way, a first name is fine for anyone to share because that alone is too vague for anyone to pull information from!
5. Tell your kids to talk to you if they receive lewd messages
If your child ends up receiving anything offensive from anyone, they must tell you about it. And what can you do if your child encounters a situation like that? Call the police! They will be able to trace the offender, and your child will be safe!
As you know, the online world can be incredibly dangerous! However, after you take steps to keep your kids safe on the internet and remain consistent with it, then your child will be fine and only use the internet for useful and positive things!
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