Today there are a multitude of new worries for parents and keeping your children safe online is at the top of those concerns. While there are many dangers lurking online, it is relatively easy to safeguard your child, with a little effort on your part.
Have Age Appropriate Guidelines in Place
Set age appropriate guidelines for your child’s online use. Limit the amount of time they spend online and what exactly they can do, based on their age and maturity levels. A 12 year old can handle a lot more autonomy than a 7 year old. Pay particular attention to establishing social networking guidelines. Social media can be one of the most dangerous places online because it is where children can most easily encounter strangers.
Set Parent Controls
All Internet enabled devices have parent control options that allow you to restrict the web sites your children can visit and what they can do online. By setting these controls high, you have a better chance of minimizing any negative contact and exposure children may have online. Even if you have guidelines in place, many children will attempt to push the boundaries. For this reason, parent controls are very important.
Monitor Online Activities
Remember that online activities are not limited to your desktop or laptop computer, but also include tablets, cell phones, iPod touch and game systems like Nintendo DS. Spend time with your child watching what they do online, check history to see what sites they have visited and limit their screen time. You can best monitor online activities if computers and other Internet enabled devices can only be used in the presence of parents. Just knowing someone can see what they are doing at any moment is often enough of a deterrent to keep them from making those poor choices. Even some internet providers provide the ability to monitor your child’s activity like wireless broadband provider Blue Fire Broadband. There are also third party services like Safety Web can also be used to monitor your child’s activity as well
Communicate With Your Child
Establish an ongoing dialogue with your child about what they see and do online. Discuss what is appropriate and what is not and why. Talk about the dangers of interacting with strangers, even online. Make sure your child knows what to never share online: personal information, phone numbers, addresses, photos and information about friends.
Yes, it’s true that keeping your child safe online is labor intensive, but raising children is that way in general. Keep them safe by following these 4 guidelines and you can feel good about your child’s use of technology and the Internet.
Photo: flickr.com/photos/sanjoselibrary/7737198866Filed under Parenting Advice, Parenting Information | Comment (0)