As a parent, you constantly worry about the dangers that await your child on the Internet, especially when they are at school or in the care of their grandparents who use the computer as part of their daily routine. Many people don’t understand how to protect kids while they’re online, whether they’re using a computer in a public place such as a school library or coffee shop.
According to the American Medical Association, one in five children have received a sexual solicitation online. One way to make sure your kids stay safe while using a computer outside of your home is to teach them about Internet safety. In this article, we’ll look at some tips for teaching kids about Internet safety and making the online world a safer place for children.
Also, a comprehensive guide to some of the best internet safety software, child bullying awareness programs, and cyberbullying resources designed especially for kids is all you’ll ever need as a parent to protect your children from the dangers of the Internet.
➡ How to Keep Kids Safe Online
These days, though, I’m swinging the pendulum a little more toward the center. I now believe that stressing digital media as dangerous may scare the bejesus out of our kids to the point where they don’t participate at all, while implying endorsement of their usage can provide parents with a better opportunity to provide guidance and set expectations.
With the Internet at everyone’s fingertips, it is important for kids to know about internet safety for kids. This can help them avoid disturbing images and many other dangers that exist online.
Here are a some tips for teaching your children about internet safety, plus how you can equip them with the tools they need to keep them safe (and how to see what they are doing online).
- Make Rules for Using Cell phones.
- Monitor your child’s online activities, including social media and gaming.
- Be involved in your child’s online life.
- Use parental controls to protect your kids online.
- Talk to your kids about cyberbullying.
- Teach children about being a good digital citizen.
- Set up house rules for Internet use.
- Keep the computer in a high traffic area of your house.
- Consider restricting Internet usage to certain times of the day or for a certain amount of time each day.
- Never give out personal information online.
- Never agree to meet someone online.
- Never post private information about yourself online such as your full name, school name or address.
- Never open an e-mail from someone you don’t know.
- Do not respond to mean comments from people on the internet and instead block them immediately.
How can you help protect your kids online? As parents, we all want our children to be safe and to live balanced lives. A big part of that is making sure they understand how to interact with technology in a positive way.
1 Communicate With Kids
Kids want to be cool, just like their parents. Today’s tweens and teens are just as excited about being able to access the internet and use digital devices. It’s part of the growing pains of being a teenager. But in an age where all communication seems instantaneous, and where so much data is transmitted between screens and devices, it is critical to teach kids how to responsibly use digital resources.
The Internet can be a wonderful tool for communicating and sharing knowledge. But it is also a place where people can use impersonation to take advantage of others. Explaining to your kids that online rules from real life are not the same as on the Internet may help them better manage risks they face online.
As with many safety topics, rather than one long lecture or discussion, have a few short conversations at different times of the year. This will help you stay on top of changes your kids are seeing in their behaviors aimed at preventing risky activities, and help you catch patterns that may indicate a problem.
2 Set digital devices access Rules for Teens and Kids
In this day and age, it’s a given that kids know what the internet is and how to use smartphones, laptops and tablets. But for parents trying to figure out how to best raise kids in a digital world, there is still a lot of confusion about how much autonomy to give them online. Not only do their ages factor into safety control, but so does the nature of the equipment itself .
➡ What Age Should Kids Get a Phone?
By knowing how to set rules and expectations and talk about what’s okay on a device as well as when, you can help your child have positive digital experiences that enrich their development.
3 Use parental controls to protect your kids online
Teaching kids about the internet can sometimes be difficult. You have to deal with all the new lingo and acronyms, as well as various opinions on what is good for kids, and what could harm them. Parental controls are a great place to start. You won’t have to worry about what your children see online as most content can be blocked. But it’s not just about keeping children from seeing inappropriate content, parental controls also help keep children safe while they are online.
Parental controls can help protect your kids online. If you have computers in your house, it is important to have parental controls installed so that children cannot access inappropriate content and websites. Parental controls allow you to set time limits for computer usage as well as block specific websites or categories of websites. Parental controls also allow you to monitor web browsing habits and filter out inappropriate web searches.
4 Create a schedule
It falls to parents to create a more structured internet schedule for their kids, and to supervise what they’re doing online. It’s important to make sure there are always other fun things for them to do as well — especially in warm weather Take your kids outdoors so they can burn off steam with activities such as biking, hiking, camping or swimming at the pool.
5 Tell them about internet privacy
Teaching kids about online safety is a great idea, but it’s not an easy one. You have to remember that the conversational tone you would use with a child might go over the head of his peers. So while you’ll want to engage with your child on more of a peer level, you need to talk to your tween and teen in terms of what they’re experiencing, instead of what they’re going through.
The internet is not like real life: There are no faces, no eyes and no emotions. This can make it easier for kids to post words and pictures without thinking about the consequences. Kids think it’s funny to pretend to hate someone and make a nasty comment online or say something rude or embarrassing that they wouldn’t say in person. But behind the computer screen, there are no second chances. The statement is posted, emailed or texted — and there it stays forever.
➡ How to Talk to Kids About Gun Violence
Be sure to talk to your kids about privacy — before they ever make Internet connections. You will find it easier if you can tell them that you mean this in the best sense and that you too are trying to learn the ropes of the online world. They often don’t understand the online world is not private and words can hurt others even if said out of fun. It is important for kids to learn about internet safety at an early age, so that they can make smart decisions when using technology.
Teaching children to respect others online is very important tool for parents. Chats and emails are easy to misinterpret, so they should go out of their way to be courteous so that they don’t accidentally upset their friends or family. As the parent, you can teach your child about internet safety by explaining what’s right and what’s wrong in these situations.
If you have kids between the ages of 8 and 10, it’s critical that you start teaching them about online safety. Given the prevalence of sexting, cyberbullying and other similarly egregious misdeeds among the pre-teens and young teens, the time to schedule a lesson is now. That way they’re aware of the dangers of social media before they turn 11 years old or start using chat apps.
It’s not just pornography that can get you in trouble. Using the internet to bully other kids, or to even joke about doing so, is also a major concern. A 14-year-old who posts a photo of another person with the intent of hurting his or her reputation can be charged with cyberbullying. Also, it’s important to briefly explain what constitutes a lie on the internet (actually, it’s important to call out lies in general).
The first and most important thing you can do is to be an example for your kids. Keep your Facebook profile locked so that strangers won’t be able to see your photos or background information, including your real name. If they ask you a question about yourself, but you don’t want to tell them the answer, it’s okay to avoid giving them a clear response. You can always say that you don’t feel comfortable sharing that information — it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you.
6 Restrict content and apps that you don’t linke
Take some time to think about what you’re comfortable — and not comfortable — with your kids doing online. Find out what you can do to help control the messages and chat requests that come into their electronic lives. You should also consider how you want them to handle themselves when they wind up talking to someone who isn’t completely safe — or nice. A good rule of thumb, in any case, is to rehearse what they should do if they run into trouble while chatting or emailing.
So what apps did I allow my kids to use? I set up my son with an email account. My daughter has a managed startup email address. My phone serves as their “phone.” (You can also create a Gmail account for your child and manage it.) There are other services that allow grownups to monitor kid’s online activities, like Qustodio Pro ($9.95 per month), or Kaspersky Safe Kids (free app/in-app purchases).
As you know, the internet can be a dangerous place for your child so it’s important to teach them about internet safety. I don’t let my kids use YouTube without close supervision. My daughter knew an inactive user on Youtube that was pretending to be her pediatrician. I’ve never had any issues with the other services but it is important to point out that they have their limits as well. The important thing is to remain vigilant and as always, be an example for your children.
7 Educate them about Pornography
Talking to school kids about pornography can seem pretty scary, but it might be time.
Protecting children from exposure to pornography is an important thing for parents, and that’s why it’s important for you to have “the talk.” You may have seen the headlines of late – hacking, government spying, and identity theft are all common risks of using the Internet. And while you obviously don’t want your child looking at pornography (or even thinking they might be allowed to!) the answer isn’t to put on blinders and assume that internet safety can only mean strict parental control.
If you’re concerned about your kid accidentally stumbling across pornography, activate parental control settings on your devices. There are also browsers that limit search results.
Parents can teach their children how to be safe on the internet. Teach your kids internet safety to empower them and keep them safe!
The most important thing we can do for ourselves, and for our children, is to be deliberate. In our technology-filled lives, it’s too easy to just accept that our kids are going to have their own digital experiences and interact with their peers online. We need to use these early days of digital living to teach them how they can be their best selves — digitally, as well as in real life.
It’s important to maintain an open dialogue with your child about Internet safety, no matter his age. You can start by setting rules for what’s OK and not OK to do online, how to be polite and respectful in all digital interactions, and how to report concerns to you immediately.
While it may be hard to believe, teaching kids about internet safety at an early age is important. The earlier they are introduced to and taught to use the internet, the faster they will become fully competent users of the world wide web. This is a pivotal time in their lives where we can teach them how to use technology responsibly and appropriately. The best way to do that is by actively engaging with our kids online, with or without using any product, service or platform.
Changing the culture of how we educate children on internet safety may take quite a few years, but there is no better time to start than now. We can use this moment in the limelight to teach kids some valuable things about being safe online, and hopefully lay the foundation for a safer internet culture later on. Never before has this level of attention been given to teaching kids about internet safety, so let’s not squander this opportunity.
Hopefully, these tips will help you navigate a digital world that’s increasingly tied to our children’s present and future. Thanks for reading this; I hope it was helpful.