Child Internet safety is a crucial issue bothering every parent in this era of digital boom. Beneath the productive benefits of the cyber world are the hidden threats the young users are incapable of dealing with. According to the Crime against Children Research Centre at the University of New Hampshire, around 77% of young targets of online victimization are above 14, while 22% belong to the age group of 10-13. Parents’ discretion and involvement, both are extremely vital in letting children make the best out of Internet, a constructive platform.
Parents’ discretion and involvement, both are extremely vital in letting children make the best out of Internet, a constructive platform. Here are some extremely useful tactics and ways to keep children safe online.
Start by Learning the Possible Dangers
Before you teach the internet threats to your kids, it is important that you yourself learn about them:
- Learn ways to deal with cyberbullies, strangers and internet users with direct or indirect criminal intentions
- Find ways to keep kids away from obscene, offensive or indecent content including pornography and materials generating hatred or violence
- A thoughtful revelation of private information (including name, address, contact numbers etc.) or your information (like credit card data) stored in the computer/mobile device. According to a survey bycom, about 75% of the young surfers would trade their personal or family information for online products and services
- Keep a check on posting or personal or family photos to unreliable sources
- Check on the possibility of downloading programs infected with viruses and spyware
Watch the Internet-access Devices
If there is more than one computer at home, allow kids to access the internet only from a particular system. Make sure that they don’t use your laptop, smartphone or tablet for internet surfing. It would then be easier to monitor their internet usage. Let the computer used by them be located at a central point, which is easy to keep an eye on.
Ensure that there are rules for using the internet and the kids adhere to them strictly. Here are some suggestions:
- Fix time limits to cut short the internet usage.
- If there are two or more kids in the family, allocate different days to each one of them.
- Ask them to access any new site only with your permission.
- Tell them not to download anything without informing you.
- Let the rule list about internet usage reside next to the PC to constantly remind them.
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Filters and Controls for Foolproof Online Safety for Kids
You can ensure online safety for kids using some very helpful technical tools and strategies:
- Install child safe internet browser or change your browser’s settings to restrict sites and apps you find irrelevant or harmful for kids.
- Choose parental control features that the internet service providers offer to let parents control what their kids surf online.
- Search engines like Google can also be set to apply child safe internet filter and prohibit certain sites from appearing in search results.
- Child internet safety apps and software program (the good ones cost nominally) are also useful.
- Always keep anti-viruses and other PC protection programs up-to-date.
Keep the Communication Open
Ask them from time to time, about what they have been surfing and what new they learn. Remind them that you are always there if they wish to share or chat about anything they found new or unusual online. In addition, guide them on how to defend their privacy by not:
- Responding to strangers, advertisements, and offers (here, the rules of the real world apply to the cyber world too).
- Sharing any kind of information with anyone.
- Keeping their passwords safe and secure.
- Posting personal or family photos everywhere.
Tell them to report any incident of inappropriate behavior or cyber bullying to you.
Get Fully Involved for Child Internet Safety
One of the best internet safety tips is to search and find the safe and useful websites for kids. Commonsensemedia.org lists some of them for children of different age groups. Make internet surfing an activity to bond over. Also, discuss the latest in safe internet practices with other parents as well as the local cyber law enforcement authorities and keep yourself updated for teaching kids about online safety.
Checking internet history and limiting/monitoring their presence on social media websites are other important measures to implement online safety for kids. Remember that it’s your responsibility to make internet surfing a positive and productive experience for them.