Technology is an inescapable part of life these days. Our children, in this era of continuous innovation and emerging technologies, are effectively growing up on the Internet. While the web has connected us and offers us more opportunities than ever before, it also comes with risks, downsides, and dangers. That’s why it’s important to be proactive in teaching your child how to be safe online as well as making the effort to monitor their online activity accordingly.
There are a number of actions you can take to help protect your child online. Big and small, taking such precautions are important and will ultimately help keep your child safer and more aware of the risks of being online. Let’s look at some of the steps you can take today.
1. Keep electronics where you can see them
Whether your child is using a smartphone, tablet, or other device, have them use it in the common areas of the house. This doesn’t mean looking over their shoulder to see every single thing they’re doing. It simply means having your children use their device in plain view so you can have a look or ask what they’re up to. Many parents are simply unaware or oblivious to what their children are doing online. According to a 2016 survey by the National Cyber Security Alliance, 60% of teens had accounts their parents were unaware of. Having your child use their device in a shared area of the house will let you inquire about what your child’s doing online.
2. Learn about the latest trends
With how quickly new technology and apps emerge, it can be hard to stay on top of the latest trends. However, your child is likely well aware of the latest greatest internet fad, and possibly participating in it. While it’s hard to keep up with everything, make an effort to be knowledgeable about the basics of the internet, apps, and social media. You can even ask your child to give you the latest updates.
3. Monitor your child’s social media accounts
Social media is ubiquitous these days and it seems like kids are creating social media accounts younger and younger. Monitoring your child’s social media doesn’t mean reading every message or post, but you should have their login information and access to their account if you ask for it.
It’s frighteningly easy for strangers to interact with your child on the internet. Therefore, it’s important to keep tabs on who your child is communicating with online. If you do come across communication with someone you don’t know, you can use a people search engine like Nuwber to find out more information about them. When it comes to internet interactions, it’s better to be safe than sorry. A survey conducted by the Center for Cyber Safety and Education found that 40% of American children have interacted with a stranger online. In short – this happens more often than you might think. As a parent, it’s your responsibility to take a proactive role in checking in on your child’s social media from time to time.
4. Use the tools offered by your internet service provider
You pay for your internet service, so take advantage of the additional tools they offer to keep your children safer online. Many providers offer free parental controls that you can implement on your child’s account. Some also offer filters to prevent children from accessing certain types of websites. Additionally, if you find that your child is erasing or hiding their browsing history, you can contact your service provider for a full report.
5. Use technology to connect with your child
While we’ve spent a lot of time talking about how to protect against the dangers of the internet, the internet is also an amazing tool. Help your child to use the internet in a smart and cautious way, rather than being fearful of it, is the way to go. Educate your child on the dangers of being online, but as well encourage them to use the internet to learn more about topics they enjoy or connect with you when you’re apart.
Additionally, establish internet-free times when everyone is off their devices and offline so you can enjoy each other’s company without a screen between you. Phone-free dinners or outings are fun for the whole family and will provide a much-needed break for everyone.
There’s simply no escaping the internet these days. For kids, growing up on the internet is an integral part of their lives – in their education, communication, and how they interact with the world. This trend isn’t going anywhere, so it’s important to take the appropriate steps to help keep your child safe online. Invest the time and energy to become more aware of what your child is doing online and take advantage of the tools available to keep them safer. These easy steps can all be implemented today and will go a long way in keeping your child safer on the internet.