As parents the internet can be a very scary place when it comes to our children using their computers, tablets and phones. Sadly, while the internet offers us and our children a world of opportunities to learn, discover and connect, it also puts them at risk from online predators and exposure to things that they would otherwise never have the chance to see. It is vital therefore, that as a parent you do everything you can to safeguard your children’s online usage to protect them from any dangers that may be lurking out there. If you are unsure of how you can best protect your children when they are online then read on for some helpful tips to keep your kids safe.
Before you begin to delve into the technical aspects of protecting your kids online, it is important that you have an open dialogue with them about who they speak with and what they view. If you can create an environment that is non-judgemental and one in which your children can speak openly and honestly then you can avoid much of the risks that exist with a simple conversation. Grooming is something that happens far too often online but it is something that you can nip in the bud very quickly if your child feels comfortable talking with you about who they meet online.
Parental controls exist for a reason and they are an excellent way to limit what your child can do on the internet. Before you allow your child to begin doing anything online you should fully familiarize yourself with the parental controls and set the parameters for how you see fit. Usually parental control will be found in the internet settings and you can use them to, for example, prohibit your child from using sites with adult content. There is a password required to change any controls which only you will know, so your child will not be able to change this.
Social Media Management
It may be somewhat draconian but when your child hits 13 and can sign up for Twitter and Facebook, it is important that you also know the login details. My advice would be that if you do this then you should only use it from a safety standpoint, remember the independence that your children have and don’t break their trust by snooping on conversations between them and their friends. If you see someone you don’t recognize or friend requests from strangers then you can take action. Speak with your child about all of this to maintain trust.
If your child wants to download games and apps online then look into giving them a small budget for this and never allow the App Store or any other online service save your card details. Even if you fully trust your child, there are far too many scams and smartly designed software on the internet that means one wrong click from your child could cost you.