There are creepy people lurking on the Internet, seeking ways to reach innocent minds and poison them with their filth. Parents understand the importance of protecting their children while they are online, but there is always a chance that your child will view something that you do not want them to see. The following tips are shared with parents of youngsters with their welfare in mind.
Children and adults alike should remain vigilant when online. That vigilance, however, can be difficult to maintain under an assault of untoward behavior by others.
Have everyone agree to a pact that limits their daily Internet activity to reflect their ages and personal responsibility. For instance, your youngest children might be limited to 30 minutes per day and only may access games websites that you have marked. Pre-teens might be allowed 60 minutes and your high school-aged children 90 minutes. Limit your own exposure to 120 minutes to set an example. Upgrade or downgrade access to reflect each child’s responsibility online.
Read this article from Microsoft on how to create Age-based guidelines for kids’ Internet use at home.
Children should know which sites they are allowed to visit and head straight for those websites alone. That can be easily achieved as parents bookmark these sites and show their children how to access the bookmarks. Young children should be instructed to stay on these pages alone with graduated access to other sites as they age.
To keep everyone safe, a web filter should be installed to forbid access to questionable as well as dangerous websites. There are paid and free tools available including NetNanny, Norton Online Family, K9 Web Protection and Be Secure. Install what works for you and understand how the administrator parameters work. Keep your password in a safe place.
Parents should understand who their children are in contact with online and to what degree. For instance, there are websites that are geared toward bringing young children together to play games. Children are online anonymously and the environment is controlled to use only supplied figures for interaction.
Other websites are much more open and allow anyone age 13 and up to join, with parental permission. Popular sites such as Facebook allow teens to interact, but there are safety protocols that parents can check off to ensure that online activity is limited to only people your children know. You can also insist that your children refrain from uploading photos of themselves or downloading photos owned by others. Talk with your children about intellectual property rights to help them understand that not all material online is for free use.
Parents should instruct their children to never share personal information about themselves with strangers. Moreover, information shared with people that they know can potentially be hijacked by someone else.
Personal information includes their name, age, where they live, where they go to school and family details. Those details include such matters as explaining to a friend when the family will be away from home and for how long. Such details in the hands of the wrong person can result in the home getting robbed while the family is away.
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Personal computers, tablets and mobile devices should be used in a central location. Parents must be able to see what their children are viewing and should also monitor web activity to track various websites visited. Parents can also make it a point to discuss with their children what they did online that day, who they talked with and learn if any untoward behavior took place.
The Internet can be fascinating to young and old alike, enabling people to connect with each other from around the world. Still, families will want to ensure the safety of everyone, by limiting the world’s intrusion to family safe websites where clean dialogue is the order of the day.
Melissa Benjamin is a technology expert and internet safety advocate. She monitors internet service providers to ensure they are offering the latest safety features for kids.