Steps to Take to Protect Your Child From Online Dangers

A lot of people are spending much more time than they used to at home, which translates into more time on the internet. For kids, this often involves not only homework and research for school but also gaming, entertainment, and socializing. However, not all online activities are appropriate for children, tweens, and teens. Parents can monitor online activities in different ways. You can establish guidelines and make sure they follow them. To help you manage some tasks, consider a parental control program or application. For everyone who’s concerned, here’s how to protect your kids online. 

Check-in on What They are Doing Online

If you let your children use the internet unmonitored, set up social media accounts, or create their own email address, you should check in on them once in a while. Tell them in advance that you intend to supervise them and why. Talk to them about safety and ask them to share their passwords to different accounts. It’s always a good idea to be aware of what they are watching, downloading, searching for, and especially whom they’re talking to and texting. You might find something concerning and be able to intervene before it’s too late. 

It’s often the case that kids don’t realize they’ve seen something or talked to someone dangerous on the internet. They could be struggling with an issue they don’t know how to raise. You can talk to them about staying safe in case they encounter inappropriate online behavior or content. 

With time, you can start supervising them less often. They should be able to develop a better idea of what’s safe online and what isn’t. 

Set Time Limits on Device Use

It seems like all children do today is move from one screen to the next. They switch back and forth between the TV, their laptops, tablets, smartphones, and back to the TV. The more data they’re exposed to, the more likely they are to see something risky, not to mention how bad it is for their eyes. We recommend placing time limits on their device use, either per day or per week. In addition, decide which types of programs they can watch, which activities they can do, or what devices they can use. 

Your children won’t learn how to self-regulate unless you teach them. Talk with them to help improve their media literacy. Ask them what they do online, suggest new apps or shows to try, or have one screen-free night a week. 

Put the Device Somewhere Visible

If you believe your child will succumb to the temptations when you allow them private internet access, put their computer or device in a public place where they’re easy to see. Monitoring is essential considering how many dangers children can face online. Review the sites they visit and read their emails. Each computer in your household can get internet access from an open wi-fi system or one whose password is easy to guess (your neighbor’s last name). 

Know What They’re Sharing 

Children often don’t know how information is shared. This is all the more reason to get familiar with the apps they download, the social networks they use, and the sites they access. To be up to date on the type of info tracked and stored by a given platform, check its Terms and Conditions page. Don’t be afraid to download an app they use. You’ll occasionally be able to see what they’re sharing. 

Install a Filter 

Filters stop people from accessing offensive sites. The majority of filters let users select the degree of filtering depending on the child’s age. Make sure they aren’t getting past the filter via some kind of workaround.

Limit Access to Inappropriate Content

It’s as easy to open an inappropriate site as it is to click on the wrong link or miss a keystroke. You might think about limiting the types of downloads or sites accessed depending on your child’s maturity level. Make sure they are able to evaluate the trustworthiness of a site.

Final Thoughts

It requires time and effort on your part to monitor what your kids do online. You shouldn’t give up. Supervise them when they’re online. Monitor what they download, where they go, and especially who they talk to. Review your safety rules periodically. Ask if they still agree with them. The purpose should always be building smart and safe internet use habits. You’ll be glad you managed. 

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