Many parents may be aware of the online dangers their children face, but are unsure of how to properly protect them from these risks. With so many stories in the news about child predators and cyberbullying, it can seem like your child is just one wrong click away from danger. However, with just a few simple steps you can make sure your kids are safe when using your home internet connection. By following the dos and don’ts listed below, you can help ensure that your children’s online experiences are productive and positive ones!
Know your children’s activity online
The world is changing every day and it’s important that your children know how to behave safely online. There are some simple things you can do that will help ensure they stay safe in what can be a very dangerous environment. Make sure they know never to give out personal information, to always use protection when chatting with others, and don’t meet anyone they don’t know. Even if they think they know people online, they don’t truly know who they are chatting with, at the end of the day.
Listen to your children when they talk about their “friends”
Cyberbullying is a major concern for many parents, as it’s easy for kids to get involved in fights with strangers they meet online. Parents should be sure to listen to their children when they talk about friends. For example, if their child tells them that someone has been bullying them at school, it’s probably a good idea to check out who that person is online.
In addition, your child might be cyberbullied by people they don’t know in real life. So, be sure to keep an eye on that, as well. If there’s any hint of cyberbullying take action quickly.
Talk to other parents
If you’re worried about your kids being online, it’s a good idea to talk to other parents about their concerns. Chances are someone else has had similar worries, and you can probably get some ideas from them.
Talk to teachers, if necessary
You’re not a teacher, but teachers know their students best. Check in with teachers if you sense that your child’s behavior has changed drastically, or if you’ve witnessed cyberbullying. Teachers might’ve seen or heard something, and they can keep an eye on things at school. In addition, speak with your child about what they’re doing online at school.
You should also consider your own residential broadband. Make sure it’s a safe space for your kids, and keep an eye on what they are doing online.
Set up a separate network
One simple way to keep your kids safe is to set up a separate wireless network. Connect your desktop computer or laptop to your router with an Ethernet cable. This creates a local network that keeps kids away from other devices (such as smartphones, smart TVs, gaming consoles, etc.) that could expose them to inappropriate content. To access these devices, they’ll need to log into the local Wi-Fi network you create—and enter your password each time.
Keep an eye on your child’s profile
Privacy settings are a great first step toward keeping your child safe online. By default, Facebook limits access to other users’ profiles to those with whom they’re friends, but you can change that if you want. Log in to your child’s profile and click Privacy Settings on the left-hand menu bar. Next, click Edit Privacy Settings under Who can see my stuff? Change who has access so that only people you approve see his or her posts.
While it may seem “big brother-ish” , watch your children’s online profiles. Have an open phone and laptop policy where you have all of their passwords, and they know you have access to everything. Keep an eye out for anything that might seem suspicious or strange. Criminals are just a click away from your kids sitting in your home. That’s a very scary thought. So, make sure you keep an eye on things and your kids are well educated in online safety.
Online safety starts at home
While it’s great that kids have a tablet, smartphone, or laptop to keep them entertained, it’s not so fun when they can get into a ton of trouble online. It doesn’t matter how tech-savvy your children are—protecting them from predators, inappropriate content, and cyberbullying starts at home.
While you’re keeping your kids safe, keep in mind there are so many good things the internet has to offer as well. Make sure you have the best broadband internet so you and your family can enjoy the good things the internet has to offer; Such as streaming a movie for family movie night, working from home, getting homework done, or chatting with family out of state.