It’s Important to Keep your Children Safe While Online
My neighbors ask me, “how to keep your children safe while online?” So I did a little research about how to keep your children safe while online. I learned about Internet safety for kids through multiple hours of research. When I noticed that cyber safety for kids was a topic discussed heavily between concerned parents I decided to write an article.
This article will cover several aspects of safe online practices that parents can implement, and lessons they can teach their kids to help them stay safe on the Internet. The goal is to keep your children safe while online.
The Internet offers many opportunities for kids to learn, communicate, and play games. They can access educational material from anywhere, anytime. They can stay in touch with their teachers, fellow students, and friends. The value of being able to research topics in-depth is invaluable.
Online access also comes with risks. There’s lots of inappropriate content. It’s not easy to know how to keep your children safe while online. There is a chance of cyberbullying occurring. And, one of the worst fears, online predators. It’s important to know how to keep your children safe while online.
Be Sure to Discuss the Online Risks With Your Children
It’s important that our children understand the risks and dangers associated with online activities. Communication is one tool that can be used effectively to keep our children safe while online. By having open discussions with our children they will understand the safety precautions to take when partaking in online activities.
Not only do children see the fun in activities first, but at times they may fail to realize the risks and dangers that are present. This fact makes children the preferred target for online sexual predators and online scam artists. Parents also need to acknowledge the fact children with few friends in real life are typically more susceptible to online predators and scammers.
How to Keep Your Children Safe While Online
There’s nothing more important to a parent than the overall wellbeing and safety of their children. We teach them the dangers of crossing a roadway, we teach them about safety equipment while playing sports, and we teach them how to physically defend themselves.
But do we take the proper actions to protect them from inappropriate content? Do we teach about the chance of cyberbullying occurring? And, one of the worst fears, do we prepare them to avoid online predators? We must keep our children safe while online.
As more and more students turn to online classes the need for online internet safety training for them increases. Our children’s everyday lives are becoming more dangerous. It seems that in this year alone the number of teenagers owning and using tablets, smartphones, and other devices has increased dramatically.
Parents, we need to know how to keep our children safe when online. Most parents know what to warn and educate their children about online safety but may have a difficult time introducing these precautions into the daily household routine. Remember the goal is to keep our children safe while online. The following tips should help parents keep their children safe while online:
5 Steps – How to Keep Your Children Safe While Online
1. Learn and Understand the Dangers and Threats Yourself.
You ask, “how do Keep Our Children Safe While Online?” The answer is available. It may require some research and may consume a fair amount of your time. You can’t teach your children how to stay safe online if you don’t fully know and understand the dangers and threats yourself. Here is a starter list of areas to concentrate on:
- General Understanding of Internet Threats
- Common Types of Phishing Attacks
- Stay Safe While Gaming Online
- The Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media
There are many resources that provide information on these topics. This site offers lots of detailed information that makes “Talking to Your Child About Internet Safety” easier and more effective. The more you know the better you can explain Internet safety to a child.
Always keep the lines of communication open with your children. If you are able to freely and openly talk to your children about Internet safety and the associated risks the more effective your guidance will be. If there is an older child that is already Internet savvy ask them to help police the habits of their younger siblings.
Without the right knowledge talking to your children about things like online predators and other risks won’t be effective. And, always stress the point that online reputation is important and the Internet is not private. You want to provide your children with the information that will keep them safe when they are outside of your house, and outside of your control.
2. Provide a Common Area Where Your Children Access the Internet
Maintain an environment where you are in the same room as your children when they are accessing the Internet, especially with the younger kids. You can set Wi-Fi passwords so they need to be entered each time by you. An even better approach is to set up your router with a separate account for your children. Most modern routers allow this, and in addition, have options for parental controls. For more information on setting up a secure home network read this article.
Set boundaries and rules regarding the time of Internet use, and time allowed each day. Be sure to set specific time slots for online studies. These things can keep our children safe while online.
3. Know Who Your Children Interact With Online
There are so many persons online that masquerade and present themselves as someone they are not. As adults, we realize that. Our children may still trust what they see and read on the Internet. Which is good to a point. Children need to exhibit a certain amount of trust to experience a normal childhood. They will learn as they go, as we did.
Make sure you become friends and contacts within your child’s social media circles. It’s important to keep track of new friends. Explain the reason for that to your child.
Both adults and children use social media as a way of keeping in touch with our friends and keep track of what is going on in our circle. After all, nobody wants to be left out. To help keep our children safe while online we need to know who they are communicating with online.
When our children go to a neighbors house we make sure we know who those neighbors are and where their house is. It needs to be a similar scenario with online social behaviors. It’s all about keeping our kids safe, doesn’t matter whether it’s online, or in the real physical world.
4. Protect Your Child’s Privacy
Make your children aware of the risks that are present when sharing photos and information online. Depending on the child’s age it’s possible they won’t fully understand the consequences. This is where the parent has to be slightly more intrusive. You need to know what information is being posted on social media accounts.
Location is another piece of information that your child should not share. Some Do’s and don’ts are hard to explain to a child without frightening them. Remember, we are trying to keep our children safe while online, not trying to scare the daylights out of them. It takes a subtle approach. The confidence and demeanor that you project will go a long way towards properly educated your child about the dangers of the Internet.
Make sure your children understand that everything post, picture, or personal information they put online may be permanent. There may be no way to delete it, and even if you can delete it, it may have been saved on another device by someone. Tell your children to avoid sharing personal information, photos, and videos online and especially in public forums or with people they do not know in real life. Explain to your children that images posted online will possibly be on the internet forever.
To help protect the integrity of their online presence, ensure they use long, and complex passwords for their accounts. This is a great practice to get into while you are young. You also want to have a list of all their passwords until they are old enough to ensure that they can use good judgment. Once again, the goal is to keep our children safe while online.
Younger kids should share a family e-mail address rather than have their own e-mail accounts. Let your children know that it is not wise to respond to instant messages or emails from strangers. Make sure they know you are trying to keep your children safe while online.
5. Practice What You Preach
Set a good example for your kids by conducting yourself and your online behaviors the same way you teach them to. Make it a point that your kids can see you being cautious online, and respecting fellow social media users.
Quick note about video chat programs
If video chat software is being used in your house always make sure you have the most up-to-date version of the software. Older versions may have security vulnerabilities. The latest Zoom software has been patched and is good to go. If you use Zoom and would like to use the Zoom Virtual Background feature read this post:
Social Media Tips For Child Safety Online
Here is a summary checklist of social media safety habits to keep our children safe online. There is a certain way to act when you are online. It’s no different for children.
Make your children aware of the best behaviors that are listed below.
- Be Yourself — Use your own judgment. Don’t fall victim to peer pressure. Realize friends and relationships change so don’t be afraid to unfriend someone if they act badly towards you or others.
- Think Before You Post — Whether you are using email or social media always take a deep breath before you send something even marginally provocative, hateful, or disrespectful. Once it’s sent you give up control of the content.
- Be Nice — Treat others with respect. It’s a good idea to treat people the same way you would like to be treated. Being nasty or mean to someone can elevate into being bullied, threaten, or cast out of a circle of friends. Remember, you can block someone that makes you upset.
- Don’t Confuse Compliments With Sales Tactics — There are many business campaigns on social media that are based on building friendships and then targeting you as a customer. There’s nothing wrong with that, just make sure you can tell the difference between different types of friend requests.
- Keep Your Personal Life Private — Don’t trust your online friends the same way you trust your closest personal friend. Don’t bring up topics that will lead to personal or emotional discussions. Do not make sexual references online.
- Don’t Agree to Meet Strangers in Person — You are safe from physical harm while communicating online unless you decide to meet someone in person. If you must meet someone in person tell your parents or if your an older teen – take someone with you.
- Don’t feel Berated based on What Others Post — A lot of the things people post online are not true. They may brag, boast, and flat-out lie. Just because they falsely build themselves up into something they aren’t, don’t feel bad about yourself. Also, don’t act as those people do. Stay honest, be yourself.
Good habits take time to build, so, as parents, we may have to constantly remind ourselves how to keep our children safe while online. we must allow our children some freedom, and at the same time carefully monitor their online routines and associated behaviors.
Make sure you keep the lines of communication open with your children. Talk often and make sure they know you care about them and their lives. Being a teenager is a very difficult time in a person’s life, remember? As adults, we need to know how to keep our children safe while online.
We can keep our children safe while online by reminding them of the basics like password habits, surfing habits, and overall good online behaviors. Password habits need to be learned at an early age. Creating secure passwords that can be remembered can be a challenge for youth.
One easy way to create a secure password that can be remembered is to create a sentence like “I leave home at 8 am each day” for a password “Ilha8aed”. Once again, good safety habits are developed over time, one step at a time.
How to Talk to your Kids about Internet Predators
Once again, it’s all about communicating with your children. Don’t be too busy with your other responsibilities that it takes away from the time with your kids. The more time you spend with them the easier it becomes to talk about awkward subjects. Remember, the goal is to keep your children safe while online.
A good way to communicate with your children about online safety is to ask them questions. Ask them about the sites they visit online and if they have any questions about anything. In order to talk to your children about online safety effectively you need to know what goes through their minds.
- Keep an eye on your children’s internet use and know who their online friends are.
- Interact with them while they are online by asking relevant questions.
- When you notice unsafe behavior, don’t overreact but discuss it with them.
- Ensure they are at the right age to have access to certain websites.
- Adjust privacy settings and use parental controls for online games, apps, social medial sites, and electronic devices.
Questions you can ask your children about online predators:
- Has anyone you don’t know tried to befriend you on any site?
- Do strangers try to talk to you about private things?
- Has anyone asked you for personal information like your phone number or address?
- Do you ever feel uncomfortable when online with other people?
The answers to these questions will open up opportunities for discussions about online safety. It’s your responsibility to keep your children safe while online. Show them how to stay safe while they are online at an early age. the things you teach them now will transfer to situations outside the house.
It’s also a good idea to discuss the ways that online predators meet and exploit children online:
What Are Some Tactics that Online Predators Use?
LET’S GO PRIVATE
—- That means let’s move to a private chat room, instant messaging, or phone.
WHERE’S THE COMPUTER IN YOUR HOUSE?
—- Helps the predator determine if the parents are monitoring the kid.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE MUSIC, MOVIE, HOBBIES, ETC?
—- Helps the predator to find out what appeals to the kid, what gifts to offer.
YOU SOUND UPSET, TELL ME WHAT’S WRONG.
—- The predator trying to gain trust through sympathy.
I CAN HELP YOU GET A MODELING JOB
—- A type of flattering to get you to cooperate.
WHERE DO YOU LIVE, GO TO SCHOOL? WHAT’S YOUR PHONE NUMBER?
—- Trying to get personal information for later use.
IF YOU DON’T DO WHAT I SAY I WILL TELL YOUR PARENTS
—- Threats and intimidation, tactics used to get what they want.
YOUR THE LOVE OF MY LIFE —
—-Using vulnerabilities, convincing the target to cooperate.
It’s important that your children know that this kind of communication is bad. They must know to alert you right away. It’s sometimes hard to discuss these things with your kids, but that’s how to keep your children safe while online.
Report suspected online enticement or sexual exploitation of a child by calling 911, contacting the FBI at tips.fbi.gov, or filing a report with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) at 1-800-843-5678 or report.cybertip.org
Read more: Is Your Child Focused when Learning at Home?
Read more: What is a Complex and Unique Password?
Updated 04/08/2021 by Kirby Allen