The world around your kids is significantly different from what you encountered as a child. They have far more opportunities to learn and thrive. But the hazards around them have also increased at an alarming pace. And the internet poses its own unique set of threats to their safety. From cybercriminals and bullies to even sexual predators, there are enough risks to keep any parent up at night.
So, if you’re looking to protect your child from online dangers, here are 10 essential tips to adopt today.
1. Educate yourself
Online predators are using increasingly sophisticated ways to hunt down innocent victims. So, it’s important to stay up-to-date on potential dangers and how best to keep your child protected from their advances.
Build your knowledge using various online information resources, from expert blogs to news sites. Join online communities and forums for parents. These could become an excellent source of support. They also provide opportunities to share personal experiences, information, advice, and tips.
2. Monitor online interactions
As your child spends more time online, it’s natural for them to develop new friendships. But predators often reach out to youngsters disguised as kids themselves. And for children, it might be hard to identify any warning signs.
So, as a parent, it’s essential to monitor their online interactions with strangers, no matter what age they appear to be. Ensure your child keeps you informed of all new friends they’ve met online. If you suspect any foul play, run a background check on Nuwber to verify their details.
3. Set some rules on information sharing
Online predators could easily extract personal information such as name, age, home address, school, and contact numbers from your kids. This could lead to various safety threats like stalking, identity theft, and molestation. Even photos and other types of content like videos could compromise your child’s safety. So, setting some ground rules for online data sharing is critical.
Define what type of information they may not share without your permission. And help them understand why protecting personal data is essential.
4. Limit internet time
It’s also important to assign time limits for internet use. This will help set some discipline and ensure that it’s used for specific purposes like learning. And scheduling it when you’re at home will make it easier to keep an eye on their online activities.
Besides, limiting internet time is also important to prevent online addiction, a common issue among kids today. Over-fixation on the internet could be disruptive to their studies and may even lead to negative behavioral consequences.
5. Keep the computer in a common area
When you first introduce your child to the internet, you need to monitor their activities. Setting up the computer in a common area could help you with this.
It will allow you to be there for them when they need guidance and support. It will also enable you to track which websites they are visiting and how they are spending time online. During the initial few years, this level of monitoring is essential with smaller kids, although it might not be so practical as they get older.
6. Set up “safe search”
There are many moments when kids could get exposed to inappropriate content. Sometimes, curiosity could lead them to such material, while other times it could just be a coincidence. But policing children’s browsing activities and protecting them from explicit content is not always a practical option for busy parents.
This is why the safe search feature is available on various web platforms like Google and YouTube. They help parents tackle these challenges by automatically filtering inappropriate, offensive, or pornographic content and displaying only what is age-appropriate.
7. Keep access controls to accounts
When your kids first learn to explore the internet, you need to have access controls to accounts they use. For example, allow them to browse YouTube under your account credentials. Log in to your Google account so they could access its services.
It’s an effective measure to track their activities until they are old enough to manage their own profiles and accounts.
8. Set up parental controls
Parental control tools are essential for modern-day parents to monitor and manage their kids’ online activities. They offer a variety of helpful features, from limiting internet time to controlling access to specified websites. Many of them will come with mobile support as well for convenience and better functionality.
And there is a range of parental control tools on the market, such as Qustodio, Norton Family, and Kaspersky Safe Kids. Of course, features will vary among them. So, ensure you identify what’s essential to you before signing up.
9. Create a safe and open environment to speak
Creating a safe and accepting environment is just as essential as setting up controls to ensure your kids’ safety. So, initiate open conversations to help make them feel comfortable enough to discuss their concerns, worries, and questions. Avoid passing judgments, making assumptions, or overreacting to their comments. And encourage them to express their views and speak up when there’s any apprehension.
10. Teach your kids to be safe
Remember, you will not be able to monitor and protect your kids forever; it’s neither practical nor healthy for their long-term development. Instead, empower them with the necessary knowledge and tools to protect them when you’re not there.
Discuss the dangers of the cyberworld, from online predators to cybercriminals. Explain how their safety could be at risk and measures to avoid various hazards. Also, teach them basic internet etiquette to ensure they are respectful towards others.
As a parent, no amount of precautionary measures may seem enough to keep your kids safe. But with changing times, you need to devise new strategies to curb evolving safety threats. And effective measures combined with a vigilant mind could help you create a secure online environment and guide your kids towards safety.