Whether it’s browsing services at MercuryNews, checking out the latest video game, searching through Facebook, or another online activity, there are many things you and your children can be doing online. Yet, we are grown-ups and we understand the potential hazards, the hidden intricacies, and the means of protecting ourselves while we are going online. Children aren’t as experienced as adults and they can't detect dangers and know how to avoid them. That is why you, as a parent, should make sure to take some much-needed steps to ensure your child is safe while browsing online. Today we are going to show you some advice in this regard.
Have a Talk
When it comes the time for your child to start experiencing the digital world, you should have a throughout the conversation with them about what they do online. This should cover all the main experiences they come across. Such as what they watch online, what they read, and who they communicate with. Don’t make it just a one-time activity, though. Make sure to have that conversation frequently as they grow older. Whether they are watching the latest TikTok videos, or reading a bestselling novel – you need to talk those things through with them.
Then talk with them about what things you consider appropriate for them to do online. Discuss the websites and the apps, the communications they are having, and the social media they are on. Remind them that not all parents and children will have the same agreement about digital safety but that they need to abide by some rules in order to be safe.
Discuss online reputation, too, for what they do now will help to build a reputation of one kind or another. Remind them that they need to watch out for what they are posting for the public to see. Make sure to mention that what happens on social media and in public forums isn’t private.
Keep the Devices Somewhere You Can Easily See Them
This comes to be especially true if your children are younger. Make sure to place the devices strategically in places where you can easily monitor them. This way you can always keep an eye on the online activities of your child. When it comes to mobile devices, you can use some tricks, too. For instance, put the Wi-Fi settings to forget the passcode. This way your child will need you to input the password and you’d know when they are online.
When your kids are still young enough to not be such digital masterminds, you can check their browser history after they’ve been online. Of course, for older children, this method isn’t foolproof for they are now aware of how to erase browser histories. But if you’ve established an open communication, this won’t be such a problem to worry about.
Be Aware of Their Online Friends
We’ve long since learned that not everyone online is who they say they are. We are wary about our online friends and acquittances for we understand how easy it is to lie about your identity when you are behind the screen. Yet, kids are much more naïve and they may be freely chatting with people who are quite alarming to us. This point stays especially valid if your kid hasn’t been taught about online security from a young age.
So, when your child has a social media profile, make sure to friend them or follow them on the media. This way you can monitor their circles in the particular media. You’d be also aware of their posts and you’d be able to spot potential hazards should they arise. Yes, kids won’t be thrilled about that but make it a condition should they want an account on a given social media.
When you are online, you’ve most definitely seen how a seemingly innocent search has brought about results that are certainly at least R-rated. Thus, you need to be aware of the parental control options that you have. Such can be found on every browser and on every ISP (Internet Service Provider). Most devices also allow for many options regarding parental control. Such features can block sexual material, results that have violence-related content, and other data that is not to be seen by children. Yes, they aren’t 100% foolproof, so you’d still need to have the "online safety" talk with your kid.
Many websites, mobile apps, and social media can make someone's location public. This is, obviously, something we don't want to share but they are available through IP Location and Geolocation features of modern web browsers. So, make sure you turn off all such features whenever you can. This is a big TO DO when you are working on ensuring privacy and safety.
Some digital photos may also contain metadata about where they were taken, so make sure you remove geotagging before sharing photos in social media. What’s more – ensure that you’ve talked with your child about all of this. Ensure they understand the need for a private location. Have them understand how to turn off the features that are related to the positioning service.
Teach by Example
An important aspect of teaching a child's behavior is by showing examples of how your kid should behave. You need to model out the behavior you’d wish to see your child exhibiting. So, make sure you are exhibiting cautions and respectable behavior. This even means that you may want to limit how much screen time you’re having if your child’s time is limited (which we advise).
After all, we want nothing more than our children to be safe. Digital safety is a big part of today’s parental concerns. But we hope we did help you out at least a bit with our top tips on how to keep your kid safe online. We need to ensure our children are only exposed to safe content and communicate with whom they can trust. Make sure they know they can count on you and come to you if they ever experience some sort of a problem or a disturbance online. Then you’d have modeled out behavior that will lead to a safer online experience.
We really wanted to get into the depth of ensuring online safety because the digital world isn't safe and it’s important to be able to protect oneself. It is especially vital to protect our children. We, as parents, need to know how to make their experience much safer and smoother. Sailing in the digital world can give us some hardships but if we have the tools to tackle them, they are much less dangerous. Thus, we hope we equipped you with enough tools in your arsenal to make sure kids are experiencing a safer online journey. By developing a mutual agreement with your kid, you can create a safe environment for them to experience the technological sphere.
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