If you thought sending your children out into the world alone was a frightening thought, think about the internet. The internet is the whole world, wrapped up into a neat little package and there at your fingertips. So would you send your children out into the world unprotected? Most parents would agree, they wouldn’t. They teach their children safety tips for maneuvering about school, around strangers, even the mall. So why not give them that same safety and protection when it comes to the internet?
Here are five areas of internet dangers you should be aware of to help protect and keep your kids safe online:
1. No personal information – Teach children to keep personal information to themselves. Strict rules and guidelines should be set for children to never give out information about themselves: name, address, phone number, age, email address, name of school or any other pertinent personal information.
Make sure your children know they cannot tell anyone personal information nor post personal information anywhere on the internet. Make it a standing rule that if ever in doubt regarding whether certain information is considered personal or not, to ask a grown-up first before choosing to post or list anything that may be of a personal nature.
2. Pictures and videos – Kids love to take photos and videos of themselves today. It’s so easy to share them with friends and family with just the click of a button. What many kids don’t realize is that more than just friends and family can gain access to pictures and videos online. Once they’ve been submitted on the internet, anyone can see them.
Make sure your kids understand importance of being cautious with pictures and videos – and the internet. You may want to consider setting your own rules and guidelines for what types of pictures and videos are acceptable to display online, and to which sites.
3. Where have your kids been on the internet? – Keep track of what your kids are doing on the internet – perform cyber checks. Being involved with their whereabouts online is just as important as keeping track of them on the playground. Covenant Eyes can make this a whole lot easier for parents to keep track of everything their kids do online.
Pay attention and monitor where your kids are going online, what sites they’re visiting and who they’re talking to. Stay up-to-date with parental controls and the latest internet safety features. Use them to block unwanted internet searches and sites by your kids.
4. Set-up a time limit for internet usage – Do you monitor how much time your kids spend playing video games, watch TV or talk on the phone? The same type of rule should apply to internet usage.
You’ll find it’s easier to monitor what they are doing when you know when they are on, and for how long they were on. Specific set hours they can be on the internet is an even better and more efficient way to keep track of what your kids are doing on the internet.
5. Keep privacy settings high – If you aren’t sure about privacy settings and which ones to use, talk to a computer specialist to help you set and utilize the highest privacy settings you can on your computer. Privacy settings are one step in helping to keep your children safe while on the computer.