How to keep your child safe on the internet is something that many parents are concerned with these days. While in most cases your child is going to be safe online and many children do use the internet without any kind of problems. It’s up to you as a parent to make sure that your child is safe online.
Of course knowing where to start with this is quite tough for many parents, but that is what we are going to do today. We are going to give you some first rate tips to make sure that your child is safe online.
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We wanted to start our internet child safety guide by letting you know that you need to start thinking about internet safety when your child is as young as 1 year old! This may sound excessive, but the amount of kids that are given a tablet or a smartphone to watch YouTube on at this age is crazy!
So as soon as you introduce the internet to your child even if it is just something like YouTube or some kind of Disney Junior site. You have to start thinking about how you are going to protect them against the weird stuff that is online.
Know What They Are Looking At!
You know who their friends are and what kind of family they are from before you let them go and play there. You need to be this vigilant when you allow them to use the internet as well! We do not mean that you should stand over their shoulder the whole time. But be sure to look and see what sites they are looking at.
Some sites that look harmless, especially sites that offer hundreds of games can have advertising that is not appropriate for children. Advertising that can in all honesty be accidentally clicked on by your child which then opens them up to potential stuff that they are not ready to see.
So if your child comes home from school and says that their friend told them about this site. You need to check it out before they do. Have some sites where they can just log on and go, this is a way to show them trust. But ensure they know that any new sites they want to go on have to be approved by the court of mom and dad first.
Have A Set Of Internet Rules
When you start letting your child on the internet do not give them an inch! Kids will always try to push boundaries and if you make the rookie mistake of letting the kids have an inch then they will take a mile.
Set the rules right off the bat. What kind of rules should you have? Well things like how long they can spend online, what sites can they go on? Make sure you let your child know that if they break the rules then their internet time for the day is over. You do not want them to think that they can do whatever they want online.
Ensure They Know About Online Privacy
There are many online kids worlds these days where kids can interact playing with and against each other and on one hand this is awesome. But then you have the darker side of this where your parental instincts start ringing and you think it may not be a good idea.
We are not saying for you to ban all these sites. But you want to really stress to your child about internet privacy. How they should never, ever use their real name, address or any other personal details online.
One way to get around this is for your child to come up with an online nickname that they can use when they are online. We know this is a really hard rule to enforce, but we cannot tell you enough how important it is for you to make sure your child knows never to use their real identity.
Have Access To Their Email Address
Is this not a huge invasion of their privacy? No doubt that is the way some people will see this. However if you have a child who is still in elementary school or perhaps even younger who’s using the internet. Then as a parent you have a duty to keep an eye on what they are doing!
Most sites that your child wants to use will require an email address for them to register. You can use your own email address if you want, but we suggest that you let your child have their own email address. However you as a parent keep control of the password. This way you can check in and see if anything unusual is happening.
Only Let Them Be Online In Your Presence
Many parents like to have the family computer in a place where they can see what their child is doing. You do not want the computer to be in a room where you cannot see what they are playing or looking at online! This is the same if they have a tablet. Make sure they are using it in your presence. If they are following all the rules that you have set then they will have no problems doing this.
Let Them Know They Can Talk To You
The internet can be a freaking weird place! Even if you do set things up so the chances of your child coming across something inappropriate are not super high. They may still stumble upon something that they find odd, weird or just do not understand.
Make sure that as a parent you let your child know that they can come and ask you about anything they are not sure about online. Let them know they will not be in trouble if they come across something by accident, but just that they need to let you know so you can tell them about it.
Set Up Your Internet!
No matter what kind of browser you use be it Chrome, Internet Explorer or whatever. There are options for making the internet safer for children, like blocking certain sites. Of course these are not full proof, but as well as blocking child unfriendly content on your browser, you can get in touch with your internet service provider. They will be able to help you set up some boundaries and put up some roadblocks as well.
It is not as hard or as much hassle as you would think to make your internet safer for your child. But at the same time please make sure that even if you do this that you still keep an eye on what they are doing.
Talk To Them About Cyber-bullying – How To Keep Your Child Safe On The Internet
Cyber-bullying is always in the news these days and it looks to be something that kids of this generation are going to have to deal with. Being bullied online is a truly horrible thing for a child to go through. That’s why you need to let them know that they need to come to you ASAP if they get upset with what someone has said to them online.
You can then take the steps to block this person and talk to your child about cyber-bullying. At the same time you want to really make sure that your child understands just because they are not face to face with someone that their words can still hurt someone and that they should not be a bully.
Cyber-bullying would probably not be as big a deal if parents sat their kids down and just let them know that you cannot say whatever you want to people online and that their online actions have consequences.
Watch Out For Online Gaming
It is not just when your child is on the computer, tablet or smartphone that you have to keep an eye on online safety. Online gaming is huge these days and no matter if your child has an Xbox or a Playstation chances are at some point they are going to want to play online.
The thing is many parents do not realize that online gaming is not just a case of playing against some people. You can chat, send messages and in general be in as close contact with people as when you are on the computer!
So if your child does want to get into online gaming then take steps to make sure this is as safe as it can be. Check who they are friends with, perhaps do not allow them to use a headset until they are older and just make sure they know that they should not give out their real name or any other personal details.
Keep An Eye On Their YouTube Activity
We have a whole generation of kids that see YouTube as their TV. We actually have a whole generation of kids who seem to prefer to watch kids play with toys on YouTube rather than play with toys themselves, but that is a story for another time!
Anyway YouTube is great and there is millions of fun child friendly content on YouTube, but it can be so very, very easy for a child to click on something that is totally inappropriate for them. YouTube may even suggest something that you might not approve of!
Keeping an eye on their YouTube activity is tough, but some steps you can take are first of all making sure they only watch channels that you have subscribed them to. Also do not let them use headphones and make sure they are in earshot when they are watching YouTube.
Watch Out For Internet Predators!
Look there are a lot of weirdo’s online and most parents will be under the impression that “it will never happen to my child” but the fact is that there are many perverts and predators that use the internet as a way to pray on children. We know this is a horrible thing, but it really is something every parent has to think about and make sure they protect their child against.
It is up to you to make sure that you keep your child safe. Know what they are looking at, know who they are talking and messaging to, know what they are doing online!
There is no one way to do this. But by following the tips that we have given you today, you are certainly on the right track to making sure your child is safe while they are online.