The Internet can be a scary, threatening place, particularly for your children. However, there are things that you can do to help ensure they stay safe and out of harm’s way online.
The Internet has changed the way the world works, and even how we interact with our friends and family. From email to social media and online shopping, the world seems to have grown smaller and more connected. However, that doesn’t mean that everything is rosy – the Internet might be a great place for adults, but it can be very threatening for your kids. If your children are online, they’re exposed to very real threats on a daily basis. How can you protect them?
The first and most important tip for anyone who has kids that get online is to be vigilant. Pay attention to what they are doing, whom they’re interacting with and what sites they’re visiting. Be alert. Be nosy if you have to. Remember – it’s better to butt in where you’re not wanted than to ignore the situation. Pay attention to everything your children do online and never assume that it’s “harmless”, as there’s rarely such a thing.
One problem that many parents encounter is that they assume the Internet is a safe place. They’ve never run into threats before, so they assume that their children won’t either. This is the wrong stance to take – threats lurk everywhere online, particularly for kids. Take the time to educate yourself about what’s out there, from cyberbullying to sex offenders.
Set Ground Rules
Make sure you lay out clear rules for your kids about what they can and cannot do online and make sure they follow those rules. For instance, if you don’t want your kids using Facebook, tell them so and then check to make sure they’re not going behind your back. You can almost expect some kids to do this, because they just don’t see the harm in it. Be watchful and make sure that your rules are being followed.
If you are very concerned that your kids are going to get into something that could be harmful or dangerous, look into setting parental blocks on your computers. Most web browsers have the capability to set blocks, but you can also download specific software designed to provide kids with a safe online experience.
Threats are everywhere online. Protect your kids.