Parents of a certain age can find themselves overwhelmed when it comes to protecting their children online. There’s a lot of stress that we can go through to ensure that our children are safe online, not just in terms of the content they are exposing themselves to, but also making sure they are protected from bullies or predators. So what are the best ways to do this?
Table of Contents
Know Your Parental Controls
There are a lot of parental controls out there and tools that you can use to filter specific search results, but there are also a lot of things to consider when it comes to the types of content your children can expose themselves to. A simple internet search for a book online could easily result in a ton of malware hitting your computer, but this is where something like a virtual private network (VPN) can be invaluable. There are so many benefits of using a VPN, not just in terms of protecting your children from unsavoury content, but in protecting your computer in general.
Help Your Children Understand What They Should and Shouldn’t Share
If your child is starting to use social media, they’ve got to be aware of the risk of personal information being shared. Revealing personal information online may not necessarily bring about immediate consequences, but there are issues that can occur over time, for example, unsolicited phone calls and emails that resemble phishing scams. You should encourage your children to ask themselves if the information they’re posting is something that they would give to a stranger. If not, they should not post it.
Be Aware of Your Family’s Digital Footprint
There’s a lot of information that we can all share on the internet that will contribute to our digital footprint. The biggest problem is that most of us are not aware of how public information can be taken and used for negative means. This is why we all need to be more aware of protecting our information. The same goes for us because if we post pictures of our children online, this can contribute to their digital footprint and it could potentially cause problems for them further down the line.
Keep Screens and Devices Within Sight
It’s important to monitor your children’s time online. There are plenty of tools that can help you to monitor your kids’ internet use, but it’s also a good idea to get into the habit of checking browser histories if you have a family computer. This could be harder to do as your children grow older and become more clever when it comes to deleting histories, but this is why we also need to open the lines of communication at an early age.
Much like talking about “stranger danger,” as soon as your child starts using the internet, you need to talk to them about the things that they are watching, reading, and communicating with, and make sure this conversation keeps going. When we keep the lines of dialogue open rather than forcing them to keep secrets, this will make for a far better relationship between the two of you and a healthy relationship with the internet and even help them take time away from technology and spend time in the real world, which is far more important than online use!