If you’re raising a child in this world, then you’re bound to hit a point where they want to start using a computer/laptop/any other device with an internet connection. As a parent, you can’t really stop them from doing this as it’s part of life now. However, you still need to play an active role in keeping them safe online. There are loads of different threats from different angles, and you’ve got to know how to manage their online activity.
For any parents out there that are nervous about introducing their children to the internet, here are some essential tips to follow:
Implement Parental Controls
The first thing you need to do is implement parental controls on the devices your children use. This will give you a greater level of control over what they can and cannot do. Basic parental controls let you block certain sites from being viewed. In fact, depending on your internet provider, they will automatically have a list of blocked sites for you. They’ll stop your child from viewing any websites that they deem unsuitable for a certain audience.
If you don’t have any parental controls set, then your child is open to all the wonders of the internet – some of which are highly unsuitable for a younger audience. Even if your child isn’t looking for these things, they can easily stumble upon the dark side of the internet. All it takes is a few random clicks or a few random links, and they’re on a website they didn’t intend to visit. Implement parental controls, and you can essentially monitor your child even when you’re not with them. It’s a great way to keep them safe when you’re unable to physically be there to stop them going on bad websites.
Make Sure They’re Connected To A Secure Network
A lot of parents are unaware that there are different types of internet connection out there. Or, more accurately, they’re aware of the different types but aren’t aware of what’s so different about them. For example, you know there are open and secure networks, but you don’t know what that means or how it affects your kids.
In short; an open network has no security to it at all, and anyone can access it. With a secure one, it’s normally password protected and encrypted to prevent everyone from accessing it. If you let your child surf the web on an open network, then they could be susceptible to hackers. A hacker can hack the network and cause all sorts of problems for your children. They can steal any of your personal information too if your child is using your computer. Hackers have been known to alter web pages and show rude images and text to unsuspecting visitors, and this is not something you want your child to see. So, you need to view the internet services in your area to ensure you choose a plan that guarantees a secure connection for your child. This will make their web browsing experience a lot safer and provide them with a higher level of security.
Supervise Your Child When You Can
I mentioned how parental controls are handy when you’re not there to supervise your child. However, that doesn’t mean supervision isn’t a great tactic for keeping them safe. In fact, it might be the best tactic as you’re there to watch over them. This guarantees they’ll never do the wrong thing or end up on the wrong websites. You can combine this with parental controls to make it even more safe for them as they browse.
Plus, it gives you an opportunity to watch your child and see what they’re doing. You can help them with any problems they might have, and teach them how to do things online. It’s also a nice opportunity to bond with your child, which is something a lot of parents struggle with in this day and age. Sitting with your child as they use the computer is a nice way to have some downtime and talk to them about their life.
Teach Them The Golden Rules
Before you let your child use anything with internet access, you must teach them a few of the golden rules. These are rules they must abide by at all times when online. Again, when you supervise them, you can see if they follow your rules. By drilling them into their head, you guarantee they’ll follow the rules even when you’re not with them.
There are many rules you can teach your children, and the first is to never talk to strangers online. Don’t enter any chat rooms or speak to any stranger that tries to contact you. Secondly, never give out your name or personal information online. This is a surefire way for fraudsters to gain things they need to make your life a misery. Thirdly, don’t give out any information about the family – for the same reason as above. Finally, don’t spend any money online or pay for anything. Your child needs to follow these rules if they want to remain safe.
Download Child-Friendly Apps
Of course, in this day and age, there’s more than one way to access the internet and get online. A lot of parents have started buying tablets for their children to use, as a way of keeping them entertained. This gives you an opportunity to download child-friendly apps that keep your children safe online.
The best example of this is the YouTube Kids app which is basically a condensed version of YouTube. Getting your kids to use this app on the tablet – instead of going on the computer and looking for YouTube – is a great way to keep them safe. It removes all the dodgy and unsuitable videos, giving them a kid-friendly experience.
If you follow my advice, you can keep your child safe whenever they surf the web. It’s one of the many struggles facing modern parents, you don’t want your child to use the internet as you know how dangerous it can be, but it’s a big part of life nowadays. You can’t let them grow up with no computer skills, so you have to work hard on keeping them safe instead.
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