Children learn about stranger danger from a very young age. We remind them about the importance of their safety whenever they step out of the home. Those same cautions should be applied to the cyber world.
Children are beginning to use the internet at younger ages. They have access to oodles of information at their fingertips and the ability to network instantly across distances. But there are some real risks and safety concerns when it comes to the world wide web.
Here are 7 ways you can help keep your child safe online:
1. Open a Discussion
Provide your child with information rather than a list of don’ts. Talk about the risks involved with social media. Try not to be confrontational and ask open-ended questions. Let your child know that they can come to you if they come across disturbing content and if they are being bullied.
2. Talk About Digital Citizenship
In order to practice good digital citizenship, your child must understand that the internet is public and that their online activity can follow them and can impact their future. Discuss the consequences negative online behavior can have not only on your child but others as well. College Admissions Officials may look at online profiles. What kind of information does your child want them to find?
3. Take Control Of Your Privacy
Offer to review profile settings of social media accounts together and ensure they are set to private. This can stop unwanted strangers from contacting your children and viewing their posts. Empower your children to make decisions that will protect their privacy.
4. Educate Yourself
To ensure your children are safe online, educate yourself about existing dangers. Try to stay as up-to-date as possible with what is trending and popular among teens. You can refer to our recent blog post series (Popular Teen Apps Parents Need To Know) that details the safety risks of popular teen apps.
5. Set Rules
Work as a family to create ground rules for your home in regards to screen time and phone usage. Keep computers in a central location so you can easily monitor your child’s activity and set time limits. Limit phone and tablet usage in bed at night.
6. Be An Example
Lead by example by following the ground rules that you yourself set for the home. That includes not using your phone in bed and during the time you spend with your children. Involve your children when posting their pictures and respect their privacy when they ask you to not share something.
7. Filter The Internet
Filtering devices are tools that help you block and filter websites and social media. Securly’s Plug n’ Play Hub goes one step further, and lets you create safe Wi-fi at home for your kids. The Hub connects to your home Wi-fi router to ensure that search engine results and YouTube are in safe mode. Parents can manage restrictions and time limits through an app without affecting their own Wi-fi experience.