Online protection of children is difficult to ensure in our fast-paced, tech-driven world, but there are things you can do to improve internet safety for your children
Kids today live in a technology-driven world. To them, the Internet is a magical entity capable of answering doubtful questions and streaming endlessly-repeatable videos of their favorite tv shows. As tech savvy as they may be, they don’t tend to know anything about viruses, online privacy, or social media etiquette. A lot of information is flooding the Internet today which makes kids vulnerable to malicious actors trying to exploit their limited knowledge. That’s where you, as a parent, must step in and teach them about online safety.
If you don’t discuss bad stuff out there on the Internet, someone else will.
Here are 7 actionable tips to protect your kids from the dark side of the Internet:
1. Teach Your Kids to Protect Themselves from Online Threats
As a parent, you want your kids to reap the benefits of online learning, but their safety is also crucial. That’s why it is vital to explain to them about online threats in plain simple language. Make them aware of the different kinds of cyber-bullying. The more frankly you talk with your kids about online threats, the easier it will be for them to be aware of what they should watch, hear, or pay attention to online.
2. Install an Antivirus Solution on Computers and Mobile Devices
Kids are easily attracted and curious about new things. Subsequently, they can easily click on malicious links and download video games, applications, or movies from unknown web locations. To prevent this, you need to install a robust antivirus solution from a trustworthy company that includes a real-time scanning engine, firewall, and automatic updates. [Companies producing antivirus software spring up all the time. Do your research, favor time-trusted brands and read reviews; some less-respected companies — often offering ‘free’ services — will inundate you with unwanted sales promotions.]
3. Use Parental Control Software
Most Internet service providers offer free parental control software to help make the Internet a safer place for younger family members. With a parental control system, you can monitor your child’s online activities. These parental control software solutions work as an online protector by keeping track of the visited sites. Such systems also control the Internet connection time, block malicious websites, and report any unusual online activity done by your kids. For added control, you can even install a kid-safe web browser for your children to use.
4. Don’t Let Your Child Shop Online Without You
Pay attention to your kids’ purchase activity. If your family shares a single payment account with a particular credit or debit card, this can be risky because kids can easily memorize your credit or debit card numbers including the 3-digit security code. To avoid this temptation, and to make yourself safe from any unwanted charges, don’t let them buy something online without your permission. This means never entering your financial data when your ‘mini-me’ is standing behind you.
5. Install Filters or other Safeguard Programs
You should install filters or some other safeguard programs on any devices your children use. Filters offer protection by preventing access to offensive websites. Most filters allow you to select the degree of filtering depending on your kid’s age. After you install the filter, ensure that filtering criteria are not being violated with some kind of technical workaround. [Again, like the antivirus software above, do your research and read reviews.]
6. Keep Your Children Engaged in the Real World
Real world engagement is one of the most useful tricks to protect your kids online. Talk with your kids and make sure they feel comfortable coming to you about issues or fears they may have. Work together to create a safe space on the Internet by making a habit of using the computer or mobile phone together. Also, create a schedule of regular check-ins to discuss what new thing your child wants to explore online.
7. Set Rules for Usage Limits
The Internet provides a totally captivating world for children. This opens up a big world to them, but you don’t want your child to become addicted to it. If you are worried about the time spent on the Internet, then it’s time to set up daily or weekly time limits for computer usage. Many parents have found that allowing extra computer time is a wonderful reward for good behavior. Be creative!
You may also enjoy reading Digital Minimalism: How to Manage Technology to Reclaim Your Life by Vinayak Garg