Kids today will have a hard time imagining the world before the Internet. They might not even believe you when you tell them that you never used the computer as a child. Parents often take for granted that their kids know how to stay safe and secure when surfing the web, but children are especially susceptible to dangers ranging from cyber bullies to sex offenders. As a parent, there are some things you can do to help keep your kids safe, including some of the following:
Teach Them about Bullying
Cyberbullying is a problem that probably didn’t exist when you were young. Kids today face these bullies on social networking sites and may receive threatening or rude emails as well. That bullying can eventually move from the computer to the real world. Have a talk with your children about what cyberbullying is and let them know that they can always talk with you about bullies harassing them.
If many kids had a choice, they would spend all day and night playing games and talking with their friends online. When you limit the amount of time they can spend online, they’ll stop taking that privilege for granted. If they have just an hour to spend on the computer every day, your children will learn how to prioritize their times and decide which activities are most important to them. Make sure your limits apply to all Internet enabled devices too, including cell phones and game consoles.
Ask About Parental Controls
Before choosing your Internet service provider, ask if the ISP offers any type of parental controls. Reserve Telecommunications and similar companies will sometimes offer these features for parents. You can use parental controls to password protect your computer, limit the amount of time your kids can surf the web and even block them from accessing certain sites. Blocking what they view online can help them better stay safe and keep them away from dating and chat sites or sites that feature inappropriate materials.
Track Their Actions
If your kids refuse to talk about what they do online or you have suspicions about their recent behaviors, don’t be afraid to track their actions. You can check the history every day to see what sites they have visited. Some kids are smart enough to clear their histories, but there are programs available that actually track their actions for you to see what sites they have visited and what they have said online.
Being a parent in today’s world is harder than ever before. To keep your kids safe in the online world, you can track their actions, use parental controls, and set limits. Most importantly, you can talk with them about the potential dangers found online.