As parents, we face a growing responsibility to protect our children from online threats. Now is the time to take a more active role in keeping your kids safe online. Let’s face it – our kids belong to a different culture. As Generation Z, our children have constant access to smartphones, tablets and computers.
Tip #1: Communication
One of the best ways to protect your children is through communication. Talk with your kids about online threats like sexual predators, cyber bullying, viruses, pornography and scams. Let them know they can come to you for help or guidance.
Personal info. Remind them to be careful with personal information online. Anything they post online is permanent and hard to undo. They should NEVER give out addresses, locations, names or phone numbers to strangers online. Don’t post anything you wouldn’t say to someone in person!
Remember to consider non-traditional threats. Online gaming with in-game chat (like World of Warcraft) should be monitored. And the same thing goes for smartphone games and texting. Many options need to be reviewed to keep your kids safe online.
Tip #2: Set Rules for Internet Use
Take it slow! When you first give internet access to your child, take it slow. Tailor access to your child’s maturity level. And let them know up front that internet access is a privilege, not a right.
As the parent, you have the right to review the sites they visit, any social media posts and limit access to the internet. Children should disclose login/password details for social media and email websites to you for agreed upon monitoring.
Every child is different, so it’s up to you to gauge what’s appropriate. Just remember to take it slowly!
Tip #3: Internet Access
Turn off the Internet. One great way to limit internet access is to turn off your wireless router (or change the password). Turning the router off at night will ensure your kids aren’t browsing without your permission. Many routers have settings that allow you to turn off access at night.
If your children have smartphones, you may need to take the additional step of collecting them. There are also a number of ways to lock-down a smartphone for safety, too. We’ll do a post on this in the future.
Tip #4: Protect Yourself
Especially if you share a computer, remember to protect yourself. A child can mistakenly download a virus or malware.
Anti-Virus Software. This may compromise your computer and your personal data. Be sure to install an anti-virus software and run regular scans. In the Moment Computing can help you do this. It’s vital and will be a big help to keep your kids safe online.
Tip # 5: Hardware & Software Solutions
Enable safe searching. Make sure safe searching and filtering is turned on in your web browser. This will prevent your children from accidentally finding pornographic or violent content. It also tends to filter out sites with malware or other viruses.
Parental Control Software. For more robust safety tools and online monitoring, consider specialized software. Actually, many internet service providers (ISP’s) have FREE online tools. They limit your child’s access to websites, chat and email.
Computer locations. Do you want your children to have internet access in their bedrooms? One great way to keep them safe is to only allow computers in public areas. This way you can stick close while they’re online.
Keep your Kids Safe Online
In the Moment Computing can help you implement some of these hardware and software solutions. Keeping your kids safe is a real security issue. It’s a growing and evolving challenge. Don’t face it alone.
Internet access is a new challenge facing parents in the 21st century. Every year brings new devices, social networks and access to online content. We encourage you to craft a plan for keeping your kids safe online.
What tools are you using to keep your kids safe online? What challenges have you faced? We’d love to hear from you!