As parents, keeping our children safe is a top priority. And, in the real world, keeping kids out of harm’s way is relatively simple; but, what about online safety? With a single click, your child could fall victim to a number of harmful situations, all while you are in the next room, unaware.
Thankfully, through education, awareness, and technology, there are measures parents can take to ensure online safety. Keep reading to discover how you can protect your child and promote safe online habits.
Communication and Education
It’s never too early to talk to your kids about online safety; but, then again, it’s never too late, either. No matter your child’s age, points like the following can open the lines of communication, and lay the groundwork for safe online browsing:
- Privacy. Kids of all ages should know the importance of keeping personal information private. This includes never posting or sharing information like telephone numbers, addresses, which schools they attend, etc. Also, kids should know not to post photos that may give away personal details, e.g., the outside of your home, kids wearing shirts or jackets bearing their school name or mascot, etc.
- Parent/child communication. If kids see or experience something that makes them feel uncomfortable or afraid, they should always inform their parents. Let your kids know they are never at fault for the inappropriate behavior of another person, and make sure they feel comfortable in bringing such matters to your attention.
- No meet-ups. Children should never, under any circumstances, agree to an in-person meet-up with someone they’ve met online. Also, if an online friend or acquaintances suggests a meet-up or exchange of personal info, kids should know to tell their parents immediately.
- Blocking and reporting. Most social media sites have block/report functions. Make sure your kids know when and how to use these features.
- Exploring together. Exploring the Internet with your kids is a great way to ensure their safety and your peace of mind. When it comes to younger kids, especially, helping them navigate the web can promote healthy habits and ensure proper usage. Think of it as a family trip, without having to leave the house.
Monitoring Your Child’s Online Activities
In keeping your children safe, online monitoring is often necessary. And, based on your child’s age and tech abilities, this can be challenging. Teens, for example, have likely been using the Internet for most of their lives, and are savvy enough to hide their tracks and work around parental blocks.
Thankfully, monitoring software can help you monitor and track your child’s online activities, which means you’re better equipped to keep them safe from predators, pornography, cyberbullying and more. Tracking software tells you what sites your children have visited and informs you if your child is involved in cyberbullying or other inappropriate behaviors. Since kids spend so much time on their phones and mobile devices, tracking their mobile activities is recommended, as well. For example, WebSafety’s innovative but non-invasive mobile phone tracking technology helps parents monitor their children’s activity and ensure that they are safe.
And, don’t forget that, for younger children, a quick look at your computer’s browsing history can tell you what sites your child has visited. Some wireless routers, too, can track browsing history through your IP address.
Much like the real world, the Internet can be a dangerous place for children. But, with a little education, awareness and communication, you can do your part in promoting online safety and encouraging safe browsing habits.