The internet is a powerful tool that can provide access to information, fun games, and communication. Virtual platforms present a unique opportunity for children to explore and grow.
However, with the same power comes increased responsibility. The internet and social media can also put your children at risk and can expose your kids to unwanted content, identity theft, and cyberbullying.
Luckily, there are things you can do to improve how to protect your kids online and ensure it happens. We review safety tips for kids and how to keep them safe when using the internet.
Learn About the Modern Tech
Kids are way ahead of their parents when navigating modern tech. Many social media options are available to kids, and they have no trouble knowing how to use them.
They know how to set up a profile and what to post and download, making them more vulnerable to risky content and questionable people.
No matter how tech-savvy your kids might be, familiarize yourself with the online risks and threats your children might face. Learn the basic modern terms and concepts your kids know.
Comprehending the latest technology can help you stay updated with your child on popular platforms and apps. You will be able to recognize dangers and red flags, which will make you a good advisor for your child as they navigate the online world.
Have an Open Dialogue About Online Activity
Do the kids have a profile or page? What do they do with it? Kids today are active online but may not know how to recognize or report concerns. They may feel embarrassed or hesitant to tell you if they encounter an inappropriate situation on an app.
Talk openly with your child about online activity. Find out about their apps and how they interact with others on social media. Tell them they can always come to you for help if needed. Establishing an open dialogue with your child will help keep them safe online.
Keep Screens and Devices in Public Areas
Do not allow your kids to have their tablet or phone and use it exclusively in a bedroom. That can harm their social life and make them feel isolated from the real world.
Instead, let your child use devices in a public area so that you can monitor their activities. Kids tend to be more cautious when they know that people are watching. That allows for more appropriate behavior.
Learn Your Parental Controls
Parental filters and parental controls on a router can be helpful when teaching your child how to use the internet safely. You can prevent your kids from installing and downloading content that isn’t age-appropriate.
These filters allow you to block certain websites, control browsing time and set certain bedtimes. Your phone and computers have a series of password controls that determine what sites kids can access and what applications they can use.
Guide Them on Keeping Their Location Private
The internet allows access to all sorts of information, including your location. Kids will also want to share their location online if it is associated with a specific app. If you give out your location on social media, strangers can see where you are, which might be a recipe for trouble.
Tell your child that only close friends should know their location. Kids should not post their actual location unless they are with you and it is appropriate for the situation. They should also never share their address or location with people they have not met in real life.
Limit your children’s access to apps that require location sharing or tracking so that only those who are approved can know where your kids go. Keeping location private is a standard safety tip for kids and adults, so reiterate it for your children.
Set Up Family Device Rules
What rules do you have for using the family computer or your phone? Kids are curious and may want to install games, chat with friends, or post on social media. These activities can be distracting when using the computer, phone, or tablet.
Establish firm computer, phone, and tablet rules with your family members. Outline the rules and explain the consequences of not following the instructions. Make sure everyone understands what is right and wrong so that they will understand your expectations.
For example, you can set a screen time limit. Kids should not be on the computer or phone for more than an hour. You could also change the settings so your children cannot use the devices during certain hours of the day.
Now that you have established the rules, it is time to enforce them. Monitor your children’s online activity closely and ensure they follow the rules.
You can check their browser or search history to see what they have been viewing on their computer or phone. Ask questions about what the kids have been doing on their devices and how they use them. Also, ensure they adhere to the screen time or social media limits.
Your child will know when you follow up on their activities, which is how they will stay safe online. If they’ve violated a rule, hold your child accountable.
This approach can help keep them safe online and keep inappropriate content out of sight. If you notice something unusual or strange, confront the issue immediately before it worsens.
Lead by Example
You are the parent. No one else is going to do it for them. Teach your child how to stay safe online by actively participating in their lives.
You must show your children that you value their safety and right to privacy and free speech. They need to know they can come to you when they have questions or concerns about apps, social media, and other online activities.
Set an example for your children. Never disparage or say negative things about someone on the internet. When your children see you being respectable, they will be more likely to behave similarly.
Internet safety is essential for children. They are more vulnerable than adults, so they need more protection.
These tips cover a lot of ground when it comes to how to protect your kids online and ensure your child has the proper knowledge and tools to stay safe when using the internet.
So, keep them in mind when thinking about how to protect your kids online more effectively, and the task will be a lot easier!