Almost every American child/teen has access to the internet these days and they get a smartphone by a certain age too. They socialize in the online world just like they do on the playground. The digital community where they spend most of their time nowadays, like any community, has its risks and dangers.
Did you know 95% of teens have access to a smartphone and 45 percent of them say they are almost constantly online? While the internet is great, it is also a dark place because it is home to cyberbullying, online harassment, invasion of privacy, and vices like sexting.
Are You Aware of What Your Kids Are Doing Online?
With offers like Spectrum promotions, almost every household has internet services available. And that is the need of the hour with this pandemic and all. As a parent, it’s our responsibility to make this playing field safe for our kids. Do you even know what your kids are doing online? Here is what a Research on Children Internet Usage tells us:
- 30% of kids have internet in ways their parents would not have approved
- 21% have explored websites where they have chatted with strangers
- 17% have visited pornography sites
- 11% have visited websites that explain ways to cheat on homework
- 4% have visited gambling websites
And then, how can we neglect kids who have stumbled on online content that has made them uncomfortable or scared.
How to Make Internet a Safe Place for Your Kids?
Internet and its open accessibility are daunting for children who are unaware of the risks. It’s impossible to block internet access from your child forever or take away their smartphone. So how can parents make a safe internet for kids? Thanks to internet security protocols and software, it’s possible to protect your child from the objectionable material available online.
Here is a guide for parents to protect them from online vices:
Discover Everything There is to Know about the Internet
Knowing internet safety for kids will not only help you recognize its dangers, but it will also help you communicate better with your children and understand what challenges they could be facing.
Managing and Monitoring their Internet access
Never give unsupervised access to the internet to your child. Use parental control software that comes bundled with internet security solutions to help you manage your child’s online activities.
The parental control feature lets you control your child’s internet experience too such as the amount of time they spend on the internet, what websites they visit, etc. if they attempt to use blocked programs, you would be notified right away.
You can also limit their correspondence with specific contacts on the social networks, restrict the type of messages they send and the personal details they share.
Encourage Your Children to Come to You
You’ll want your youngster to come to you rather than hide if he or she gets into problems online. Keep in mind that even if your children are following all of the rules, they may land on a dangerous website by accident. Getting mad at them will only make them avoid you. become a parent who is also their child’s friend.
Install an Anti-Virus Program
An antivirus program is critical for protecting the safety of your family online. This will prevent your child or anyone else in the family from accessing sites that carry malicious code or a computer virus. Some anti-virus programs also let you run a deep scan to ensure there are no unwanted visitors on your PC’s hard drive.
Educate Them about the Risks
Today’s kids are born into the world of the internet, smartphones, and tablets. Since they are so comfortable with the internet, this could make them and us blind to the potential risks.
Hence, it’s the parent’s responsibility to make them aware of the risks of the online world. Educate them on the topics of cyberbullying, pornography, the dangers of sharing personal information, etc. teach them how to avoid or report online threats.
Keep an open dialogue with your kids. Listen to their questions and concerns. Let them know that you are looking out for their safety. Help them trust you and have an open conversation about anything that’s bothering them. As your children grow, you can minimize the restrictions and give them more control.
Use Social Media Carefully
It’s important to stay mindful about the way your child uses social media since it’s inevitable to keep them away from it. For instance, inappropriate photos or comments should not be posted. Posts about drugs and alcohol, as well as nudity, bigotry, violence, and threats, should be avoided.
Block and report anyone who makes harassing, threatening, or inappropriate comments about you on the app. Before using any app, familiarize yourself with the privacy settings and read the privacy agreements. Encourage your child to do the same. They might be disclosing too much information, which can haunt them later on.
Set Rules for Your Teens
Setting explicit rules and clarifying why each rule exists, as well as the hazard it protects against, can assist your child in comprehending the potential dangers of the online world. For better internet safety for kids, information should be protected by rules. Check these examples to set the right rules:
- Don’t give out personal information online. This includes your home address, social security number, phone number, and other details
- Don’t chat with strangers
- Don’t post personal photos on public websites
- Never agree to get together with a person you have only met online
- Don’t open emails from an unsolicited person. Never download any file or click any link shared in an unsolicited email.
Make a Habit of Having Regular Talks
Talk to your kids about how they use the Internet on a regular basis. They’ll be more willing to come to you if there’s an issue if they are used to talking to you about the Internet.
Education comes a long way in making the internet safety for kids. Start with these tips so that you feel more confident about letting your child explore the web independently.