7 Ways to Keep Your Kids Safe Online
Due to the current changes in our lifestyle, many parents are allowing children more screen time for both educational and social purposes. This means they are spending a lot of time online, and with a lot of parents working from home, they can’t always be supervised. The invisible threat of cyber-bullying is worrying for parents as it seems difficult to police. Your children are exposed to a lot online and where you don’t want to stop them from having a social life it’s natural to worry about their safety. Here are simple tips to give you peace of mind while your kid is surfing the net.
Talk openly with your children about their online activities. Avoid the knee-jerk reaction to panic and ban them from certain sites or apps. Give them the chance to explain what they’re doing and feel comfortable talking to you about it. Take an interest in what they are watching, looking at, or listening to. If you listen to them and communicate in a healthy way about you can then develop mutual respect. It will be easier to get them to agree to any limitations you want to set, and you can explain to them what is age-appropriate and what isn’t.
2. Online Behavior
Teach them that there is a certain etiquette to be adhered to and that they are still dealing with real people, even though it’s only in messages. Explain what is safe and not safe to share, even with people they know. Show them how to switch off their location for example and make social media accounts private. You can find more advice here about online etiquette for kids.
3. Parental Control
When you first set up your kids’ devices make sure you have put parental controls in place. This means covering the browser and filters. This should prevent unwanted content from appearing even if they search for it. Many sites and apps designed for kids will have these controls already in place which is handy, and you can set age limits as well. It’s advisable to encourage apps like these for younger children. Check out some examples of safe apps for kids. There are a range of options both educational and fun, which have security measures already in place.
4. Get to know their friends
Find out who they’re talking to online and if they’re friends. Their contacts will in most cases all be friends from school or family and not people they’ve never met. Start a calm conversation about it and again show an interest. Explain to them to always be aware of who they’re talking to. If you’re concerned about cyber-bullying or feel your child isn’t being truthful about who he or she is talking to on their phone, learn more about free spy apps.
5. Be social network savvy
The younger generation might have a higher aptitude with these things but it’s important for several reasons that you learn about social media and how to use it. Firstly, in order to impose rules about the use of smartphones and social media, how are you going to be able to convince them if you know very little about it? It will reassure them that you know best if you are able to explain any dangers from real knowledge of the apps. You’ll also benefit from knowing how to block and report users if they behave inappropriately. There are plenty of tutorials available online with tips and tricks for parents.
6. Keep screens where you can see them
Especially with younger children, try to supervise them as much as possible and keep monitors in plain sight. You can also check their browser history, and sometimes it might be a good idea to get involved. You can leave them to it, but ask them to include you in games and activities from time to time. With older children and smartphones this might be more difficult. Try to keep an eye on their social media posts and what they’re sharing.
7. Set an example
The best way to motivate your kids is to lead by example. Limit your screen time in front of them and be vigilant about what you look at online. Be cautious and respectable online and they will be more likely to follow in your footsteps. In the end, you don’t want to instill fear in them or preach too much. The best way to inspire them is by setting an example, and with knowledge and understanding.
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