It’s inevitable. Your children will use the internet. Even if you avoid using the internet at home, there will come a time when they will need to use the internet for school.
Typing skills are becoming more important than writing, and cursive is no longer taught in school. With the changing times comes concern about how to keep your child safe from scams, online predators and identity theft.
Here are some of the most important tips on how to keep your children safe when using the internet.
Use Protective Software
Install protective software onto your computer. It can come in many shapes and forms. You can install different programs that can help you keep track of what your kids are doing and protect their information. Some even controls to block your kids from finding information that is not age-appropriate.
Another option is to use a Virtual Private Network.
What is VPN (Virtual Private Network)? This is a tool you can use that will keep your information private. It is important to be proactive when keeping your children safe. Don’t wait for something to happen. Install the software when your children begin using the internet.
Have “The Talk”
No, not that talk, but it is important to keep an open dialogue when discussing internet safety. Talk to your children about appropriate online behavior, keeping personal details private and avoiding unsafe situations.
By keeping an open dialogue, you will be able to discuss with your kids what they are doing on the internet. If they happen to get into trouble or come across unsafe sites or people, then they will be able to bring it up to you without fear of getting in trouble.
Keep Personal Details Private
It is important that children understand personal information should not be shared with other people online. They need to know that someone can really get into trouble when other people have their personal information. Of course, it is important not to scare them, but they need to know that they or someone they care about could get hurt physically, emotionally or financially if their personal information is shared with others.
They should also be taught what information is personal. Their name, address, telephone number, birthdate and location are all critical pieces of information that should never be shared with strangers.
Monitor What They Do
While you want your child to have some privacy, it is important that you monitor what they do. Many parents make sure to know their child’s passwords so that they can log in and see what they are doing.
Using software that can monitor what children are doing or even just checking the history on your browser are all ways that can help you monitor what your children do to keep them safe.
Put Your Computer in a Central Location
This is another way to keep your children safe while on the internet. If their computer is tucked away in their room, it will be easier to hide information from you. If your computer is in a more central location such as the family room, dining room or kitchen, then it will allow you to better monitor what your children are doing.
It will also make them less likely to do something inappropriate on the internet.
Teach Them How to Protect Usernames and Passwords
Depending on how old your children are, you should teach them how they can protect their username and password. Just like their personal information, it is important that they do not share their information with anyone. It is also important to help them pick out a username and password that does not give out any details about their personal life.
While many people choose an email address with their birthdate or initials, you should teach them to use a login that does not include this information.
Only Contact People You Trust
If your child is old enough to be using email or other social media, teach them to only talk to or respond to people they know and trust. It is important for them to exercise this using their judgment, and it should be taught early.
Social media sites have a minimum age requirement, and there is a reason for that. No matter how badly your child wants to get onto Facebook because that is what their friends are doing, respect that age requirement so as not to put your child in harm’s way should they face it. You might trust your child, but there are many people out there on the internet who cannot be trusted.
If you establish rules and guidelines when it comes to using the internet, your child will know the appropriate behavior. Children need to be explicitly taught about the dangers of using the internet.
While it can be a wonderful and necessary tool these days, it has also been a place for predators to find their next victim. That’s just one of many reasons why teaching your child safe internet usage is crucial.