Learning How to Protect Your Kids Against Online Threats and Dangers
Believe it or not but we have become a permanent part of the digital world. Our kids and teens are growing up in a digital environment where they are always consumed by the use of digital devices. With just a single tap on their phone screen, our kids can have access to lots of information, fun, and entertainment than we did while growing up.
They can use the internet for educational as well as entertainment purposes. They can watch videos, movies, play games with their friends, and use social media to interact with others. However, between watching funny videos and scrolling their Instagram feeds, they can also come across the dark side of the most that parents can’t seem to control.
Hackers, strangers, online predators, and cyberbullies are ever-present on the internet and can target young and innocent kids. The internet, especially social media and gaming platforms can make it easier for them to reach our kids. Following some internet safety tips as well as using the best parental control can protect your kids from these online dangers.
Internet Safety Tips for Kids to Follow
Certainly, kids are not aware of the online dangers that surround them all the time while they are spending time on the internet. They need to be informed about them. It’s easier for them to get lost in the glittery internet world but once it is too late, you might not be able to help them get out of a messy situation.
Since parents are more mature in terms of identifying and understanding the potential online dangers, they can be in a better position to teach their kids how to protect themselves from those dangers. Here are a few effective internet safety tips that you can teach your kids to keep themselves safe online.
Inform Them About Online Dangers
These days when kids need to seek help for anything, they use the internet. From completing homework to playing games and chatting with friends, they make use of the internet in the best way possible. However, the majority of kids can’t identify the online dangers and fail to see the dark side of the internet.
Having an honest and open discussion about internet safety and how they can recognize internet dangers is essential for your kids. You need to give them a couple of internet safety tips such as they should never disclose their important information with anyone online such as their contact number and home address.
Also, you need to teach them to be open about whatever they see or happens to them on the internet. If they find something inappropriate online or receive a threatening message from a bully, they should immediately inform you. Having an open dialogue with your kids will keep them safe.
Use Parental Control Software/App
You may put barriers around your kids while they are using the internet and their devices. However, kids are quite smart these days as they can easily find a way around those barriers and break them. What they are not aware of is that as they get smarter, so does the technology.
We have plenty of parental control apps and software that can be used to keep an eye on your kid’s online activities, sometimes even without them knowing. Most of the parents are using parental controls to keep their kids safe online.
By setting up privacy and parental controls, you can monitor all your kids’ devices on the network, enable safe search features, set up schedules, as well as block/filter inappropriate sites and apps. Besides using third-party parental control software, you can also benefit from the built-in parental control features in your kid’s device.
Set Limits on Screen Time
It has been reported on several occasions that kids and teens are spending way more time on their devices. Their screen time has been increased as they spend all day glued to their electronic devices. A report from Common Sense Media informed that kids aged less than 8 years spent an average of 2 hours and 19 minutes in front of their screens.
It is essential to establish limits for screen time for your kids at an early age. This will prepare them to make responsible and smart choices when they are older. If they are not addicted to their phones at a young age, they will be more likely to spend less time using their phones.
The less time they spend on the internet, the less likely they will come across problems online. You can set boundaries and rules such as no screen time before bed or during meals, or having a daily limit on screen time. By doing this, you can control your kid’s online activity.
Monitor Your Kid’s Online Activity Regularly
If you are letting your kids use the internet without any supervision or restrictions, you are doing it all wrong. You are setting up your kids for trouble on the internet. Whether it is about keeping a check on your kid’s web browsing history or monitoring their activity on social media accounts, having regular access to your kid’s devices as well as accounts is important.
By letting your kids access their devices, you are providing them a privilege for which you are also paying for. Knowing the passwords to their accounts should be an essential part of that privilege. When you keep an eye on your kid’s online interactions, you can learn who they are interacting with and what sort of messages they are exchanging with others.
That way, you can help your kid stay away from online predators as well as cyberbullies. You should also keep a close eye on your kid’s web browsing history, especially deleted history, and see what they have been searching for on the internet. If or when you notice any suspicious activity, you can bring it to your kid’s attention immediately and have an honest and open discussion about what’s right and wrong on the internet and how they should spend time online.
Keep the Device in a Central Location
You need to put your kid’s computer in a central location of your home so you can constantly keep an eye on your kid’s online activity. This kind of set up will discourage your kids from opening inappropriate sites or doing something suspicious as they know you have kept your eyes on them.
Also, you should never allow your kids to use their mobile phones during the night. It’s better to switch off the internet router when they go to bed.