As a parent, you want to protect your kids from the dangers of the world. You lock your doors, monitor TV shows, and tell them not to talk to strangers. But what happens when the dangers are already in your home and accessible to even the youngest child? The internet is a central part of life for most families. Kids even need it to do their homework nowadays. So, it’s more important than ever for parents to take the lead when it comes to monitoring kids’ internet usage and safeguarding them from predators, cyberthieves, and other bad actors.
Here are five ways to keep your kids safer online.
Be Aware of Your Kids’ Online Contacts
What would you do if you were sitting at a table and a stranger started talking to your 12-year-old daughter? Of course, you would intervene. However, it’s not so easy to tell who your kids speak to on the internet. Parents often want to know what their children are doing online but dread the possible conflict. Considering the consequences, it’s worth the effort to have a heart to heart with them. Initially your kids will resist your monitoring of their social media accounts, however you can make that a condition of using them.
Prepare Your Child
Children are now born into the internet age. They are told consistently about the dangers of going online. However, children often act on impulse and do not always listen to warnings from the adults in their lives. To make an impact, show them examples of how children have been harmed by the internet. Make the dangers specific by teaching them about:
- Cyberbullying: what it is, what it looks like, and what to do
- Sexting: dangers of giving and accepting nude pictures, having sexual conversations, and then having that content shared with others.
- False identities: People lie about their identity to befriend children for nefarious reasons.
Predators have tools they use to target your children. So, you need to proactively block their attempts to reach your kids. Fortunately, there are ways to protect your children before they go online, as follows:
- Use parental controls to filter out X-rated content.
- Take your child’s phone away just before bedtime.
- Change your child’s passwords regularly and make sure you always know those passwords.
- Link their social media and email accounts to yours to make it easy to monitor their activity.
- Teach your child how to block people from contacting them.
There are multiple agencies devoted to shedding light on the criminal element of the internet. For example, the United States Department of Justice offers advice and resources to help parents navigate the internet on behalf of their children. You can also research the games and apps your children have on their phones and remove those that put them at risk. Additionally, there are social media groups that inform parents of the latest dangers via notifications.
Do Your Part
If you discover shady people, apps, games, and sites that target children, report them. The more parents fight back, the harder it is for predators to target children online. You can also contact tips.fbi.gov or https://cyber.gc.ca/en/incident-management to help other parents stay informed.
Contact Essential Designs to find out more about how our security services protect your family. Our experts examine your vulnerability to outside predators and help you produce a plan to block threats before they happen. You do not have to wait until something happens to your family, you can be proactive and protect them from the dangers that are waiting to enter your world.