parenting

Kids on the Internet: How to Keep Them Safe

parentingages and stages

In this modern world, everyone is using the Internet more than ever before. This increase in Internet usage includes children, who are plugged into the World Wide Web through devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, and even gaming consoles. Because the Internet is available through a number of resources, it is naive to think you do not need to talk to your kids about online safety. It is also shortsighted to think that the dangers online are not real, considering that children have been exploited, kidnapped, and hurt by people they have met online. There are some things you can do to keep your children safe.

Kids_and_internet_safety

5 Tips for Keeping Kids on the Internet Safe

  1. Having a good defense at your home is a big help. A home security system can help deter any person who might track down where your child lives in an attempt to make contact with them. There are a number of resources out there for selecting a home security system, like BestHomeSecurity. At the very least, having a home security system will keep unwanted visitors out of your home.
  2. You still need to take other steps to ensure your kids are safe while they are online. You should sit down with your children and discuss what Internet sites are safe for them to visit and which are not. Of course the younger the child, the smaller the list of safe sites. Most web browsers allow parents to restrict certain sites, or even to allow the browser to only go to sites on an approved list.
  3. Review your child’s email address, screen names, avatars, and other online identifiers to ensure they do not give away clues about your child’s real identity. This includes using your child’s first name, real picture, mentioning his school, city, or last name. If you find that your child’s identity might be at risk of being uncovered, help your child take steps to correct the situation.
  4. Social media sites should be limited to teenagers. You should connect with your child’s account on these social media sites so you can monitor their activity. Regularly talk to your child about the things he posts on social media, asking if they are things he would be proud to have brought up five years in the future. You need to teach your children that anything they share on social media can come back to haunt them later if they are not careful.
  5. Finally, you need to help your children understand the importance of not sharing online passwords with anyone, including their best friends. Discuss with your child what could happen if a friend were to give someone else the password or if they had a falling out with a friend who then decided to use the password to make your child look bad. Also discuss password strength with your child, helping him understand that he should use a password that is impossible for even people who know him extremely well to guess, such as a phrase only he knows that also includes a number and symbol.

What ways do you keep your kids from getting into trouble on the internet?

Anthony Rocha has extensive experience in the security industry. He enjoys writing about safety and security for various websites.

Photo credit creative commons.

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