Children are increasingly using various devices and apps from a very early age. They have access to the Internet on a daily basis. Whether it’s for fun or education, the Internet provides a variety of useful resources. Yet, the online world is full of threats.

Between malware, predators, cyber bullying and inappropriate content, the dangers and risks children face online are constantly growing.

As a parent, you need to be aware of all the threats and know how to prevent them. Here are some of the most important steps that you should take to keep your children safe while they are online.

 

Basic Security Measures

Before you let your children use the Internet, set up a common area in the home that is dedicated for computer usage. This should be an area where you can easily monitor your children’s online activities, such as in the living room or dining room.

If you use Windows, you can use the family features to generate weekly reports of Internet activity. If you use a Mac, you can use the screen sharing feature to monitor your children’s online activity from your own device.

There are also numerous software programs available that enable easy monitoring. For example, Net Nanny and WebWatcher keep a log of the websites that your child visits. There are also programs that make it easy for you to control which apps your child downloads and uses and for monitoring social media activity.

Parental control features are available through most Internet providers. You can use them to prohibit your children from intentionally or unintentionally visiting specific sites that you deem to be a threat.

 

Stay Up-to-Date

The online dangers that your child may be exposed to can change over time. In some cases, the dangers develop quickly. As a parent, you need to stay updated about all dangers and risks, and you need to take proactive steps to improve the level of protection that you provide.

Smart parents will stay updated with risks associated with new social media platforms, games and more. You also need to be aware that many children are increasingly technologically savvy. They may try to alter the protective measures that you have established.

 

Educate Your Child

Regardless of how much time and effort that you spend trying to keep your children safe online, your efforts may not always be fully protective. You need to educate your child about the many dangers that they could be exposed to online.

This can be a tough talk to have with some children, but you need to make it clear why these situations are dangerous. They should know what to do if a stranger approaches them online or if they visit a website that is not appropriate.

They should also be aware of predators posing as children, asking for their location or other private information. Remember to tell them that location information may be imprinted in photos that they share as well. Furthermore, they should avoid using public Wi-Fi to log into their accounts.

 

Limit Access

Children are increasingly spending too much time online. This decreases their real-world experiences, their chance to be physically healthy and active and to socialize with friends.

Some wireless routers that you may have at home could limit Internet access for each user. You can access these settings through the specific instructions that come with your router, and you can set a reasonable amount of data usage per week. An alternative to this is to use Screen Time parental controls to reduce the amount of time that your children spend online.

Remember to use a passcode or PIN on your own devices to prevent your children from using these devices when they have exhausted the limits on their own devices. Your own devices may not have security controls and safeguards in place, so they could be inappropriate for children to use.

Most social media platforms have age restrictions, but these are not always followed. For example, need to be at least 13 years old to create a Facebook account. Before your child begins using any social media platform, research the age restrictions, and enforce the rules appropriately.

 

Set a Good Example

As is the case with many things in life, your children will learn about Internet and social media usage from you. You need to set reasonable examples regarding how you behave and how much time you spend online.

More than that, you should be aware of the information that you share online. Remember that predators could also look at the personal contact information and details in your own photos posted online to find your children. This could result in serious physical crimes or even identity theft.

Some people who you know may pressure you to share more photos of your kids, but you need to stay strong. As a parent, you need to identify all online dangers and take every step possible to protect your child. You also need to have open communication with your children regularly so that they feel comfortable about telling you if they have any online issues.

 

Final Thoughts

The Internet is an excellent resource that most parents today did not have access to when they were growing up. As enriching and beneficial as it can be, it can be dangerous when used improperly or without restrictions. With the help of the above five tips, you can keep your children as safe as possible online.

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