The internet can be a terrifying place for your child. There are so many wormholes that can fall down and the idea of a stranger trying to talk to them can give any parent a heart attack. These days there is so much a child already knows how to do online without any help, meaning it can be hard to know how to keep your child safe in these unprecedented times.
It is so important to be able to talk to your child or teenagers openly about their online activity. You don’t want to make them feel ashamed especially if they have been misled. Nowadays children are accessing the internet earlier than ever before so you need to make it very clear that as a parent you need to know who they are communicating with and what they are watching or reading. A good idea is to have your child write down a list of each site they visit. You can always cross-reference their list with their browser history as well.
It is also important to have guidelines that are understood. Layout what you expect from your child and their internet use. It may also seem easy to steamroll your child, but it’s important to listen to them. Sadly, it’s also important to teach them about the lack of privacy that would pertain to their online presence. The main goal is to teach them that the internet is not private and once a picture or email is sent, it’s out there forever.
Keep devices where you can see them.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to monitor your child when they are online. It can also be a good idea to keep all the devices in a common area so you can keep an eye out. If you have a desktop computer, you can make room for it in the family room or kitchen. Even if they are only accessing their private maths tutor you will want to keep an eye out.
If you’re worried about your child’s phone or tablets, you can set a Wi-Fi password so none of your children can access the internet without your knowledge or permission. For most devices, you can also set up parental controls. Even innocent searches can lead to big discoveries for young children. It never hurts to look into control restrictions offered by internet browsers, devices, or providers.
It is a good idea to know who your children’s friends are online. Let them know that every picture posted to Facebook or Instagram leaves behind a digital footprint that can be traced. The fact that your child’s image can be used in ways one never thought would be possible is all the more reason to be smart about protecting their pictures. You can teach your child to be in control of their footprint by talking to them about their privacy setting on social media and only share a picture with someone they know, never a stranger. It’s also important to teach any child to keep their location private and never tag themselves.
Be a Leader
You can talk to your child about online safety until you’re blue in the face but most children learn by example. If you are leading a safe online presence most often than not your child will copy what you do. It’s super hard trying to talk to your children about being safe and online awareness when you are the parent who posts nonstop updates onto their own social media. The internet can be a very addicting and manipulating tool so it’s important that you and your family always have an open door policy.