We use the internet for everything these days. From socialising with friends to checking the Flux Price, it has become an integral part of our everyday lives and helps us communicate and collaborate more effectively.
Tech is the future, which means getting your kids comfortable using technology is vital and will set them up well for later in life. However, the internet can be a dangerous place for the young and the vulnerable, so as adults it is our responsibility to ensure that kids are safe while online. We’ve put together a guide with six tips for keeping kids safe on the internet. Check it out below.
Communicate With Your Kids
The first thing you should do before letting your children use the internet is to sit down and have a talk with them. Stopping your kids from using the internet is essentially impossible, it’s too important in today’s world and is a necessary skill that everyone has to learn.
However, this doesn’t mean you should just let your kids go online with no prior discussion. Sit down and talk to your children about the internet; what it’s used for, its benefits, and its risks. Be open, honest, and frank. Encourage your children to ask questions and try to be as forthright as possible.
Fostering an open environment where communication is encouraged will make your children feel more comfortable raising any issues they have regarding their internet use in the future.
Install Parental Controls
Thankfully, monitoring your children’s internet use doesn’t mean you have to be present and looking over their shoulders at all times. There are various software solutions that can help safeguard your children online, leaving you free to focus on your other responsibilities.
These software packages can be relatively simple, blocking age-inappropriate websites and apps, or more advanced with a range of fully-customisable special features.
All of the activities conducted during your children’s internet sessions can be logged for you to review later. Specific contacts and messaging options can be blocked, and some programs can even allow for the blocking of certain words and phrases.
Use Antivirus Software
Cybercriminals and hackers are constantly developing new and improved ways to target internet users. Often, their tricks are so elaborate and believable that even the savviest adult internet user can fall for them. Children with little or no internet experience will be prime targets, which is why having a comprehensive antivirus software solution in place is so important.
Children will be unaware of the warning signs that could indicate a scam or virus and could inadvertently click a malicious link and infect their device. This could leave your personal data vulnerable and could have serious financial repercussions. Install a competent antivirus solution to prevent this from happening.
Limit Your Children’s Time Spent Online
Studies have shown that children who spend too much time online are at higher risk of developing mental conditions such as depression and anxiety and could begin to display signs of internet addiction.
When allowing your children to begin exploring the internet for the first time, setting time limits is vital. Schedule their internet use into a routine and keep things organised. For example, you could let them use the internet for two hours after dinner and after they have completed their homework.
This way, you will introduce them to the internet in a structured, disciplined way and reduce the risk of them developing negative internet-associated behaviours.
However, as a child gets older, it’s important to offer them more freedom and loosen the rules surrounding internet use. This will help them feel more independent and will encourage personal responsibility as they are tasked with managing their own time.
Be Aware of Social Media
Social media has been a revolutionary development that continues to shape culture and society. Your children will likely be eager to make their own social media profiles to keep up with friends and classmates.
However, for all the good social media can offer, there are still some downsides. Social media sites like Twitter or Facebook can contain harmful material not suitable for children. What’s more, scammers can use social media to befriend unsuspecting victims and convince them to divulge personal information.
Think carefully about whether or not to allow your children to create their own social media profiles. If you do let them, monitor their activity carefully, and be sure to engage the strongest possible privacy settings to give them maximum protection.
Keep Yourself Informed
The internet is constantly changing and evolving. New trends are emerging all time and with them new risks and new threats. As a parent, you must keep yourself abreast of the latest developments and how they could impact your children as they spend time online. Speak to your kids about what’s happening and how to keep themselves safe in this ever-changing digital landscape.
As a parent, keeping your children safe will be your number one priority. Now, children are exposed to a number of new threats through the internet, so it is your responsibility to ensure they are always safe when spending time online. Use the advice we’ve outlined in the guide above to keep your kids safe on the internet.