These days, we can no longer prevent our kids from being online. We let our little ones watch their favorite cartoons online. We let our kids do their research work online. We also let them connect with their friends online. The internet is a network of networks where anything and everything may be seen. The first thing as parents that we should be concerned about is how to keep our kids safe online.
Here are some tips:
Make sure that you have given a limit for your child to be online. This should be a mutual agreement between you and your child. Make sure to consider all aspects so you may come up with a reasonable time and your kids will not complain about being given too little time on the computer. They need to know that you are giving this to make sure that there is a balance between their responsibilities and leisure time online.
Consider the location of your computer. Make sure that it is in an area where you or others can see what is being accessed online by your child. Putting your computer in a secluded or non-traffic area at home may also cause your child to be secretive with sites that they access. This may be out of curiosity especially when they know that you prohibit them from accessing certain sites. Just because no one else will see, anyway.
Invest in a good anti-virus program which may also have fenced access, parental control or lock key features in it. Do your research and check on reviews so you do not end up wasting money on the purchase. Make sure that you also purchase authentic software to prevent risks on your hardware.
Internet phishing and scamming are very rampant these days. Aside from making sure that you have rules at home, you also have to let your kids be aware of the risks. Give them examples of what can go wrong online when they give out too much information and the risk it can cause to your family. Make sure that you have security features on Social Networking sites that will allow you to review first any requests before accepting or posting them. Sometimes kids have this idea that virtual can be harmless until we give them facts.
Make yourself involved in your kids’ online activities. Aside from knowing the sites that your kid usually go to, you will also have an idea of what is in it and what interests your child. Now, you may have a nice discussion about it and your kid will also feel comfortable sharing with you what he has seen.
Be alert with your kids’ actions. Now that they are aware of the risk, something may have already happened and they just don’t want you to know it. They may be afraid of the consequences when they tell you. Do they immediately turn off the monitor when they hear you around? Do you find inappropriate sites in the history log? Do they spend long hours on the computer or give a lot of excuses when asked to end their computer session? These may just be some of the danger signs.
We may have done all of the tips above and some more that you find helpful but the best way really is to keep yourself educated. Kids these days may know more than us in the computer world. We may tag ourselves the not-so-techie ones but it is always best to step in and make sure that you have enough information. You want to be the go-to-person of your kid with anything online. You may not know everything but with a little research, you’re going to be just fine.