Safety First: Teaching Kids Safe Surfing Habits – How to Guide Your Children in an Online World
The Internet is a wonderful way for children to learn about the world, to be creative, to study, to be entertained, and to communicate with friends and family. But it can also bring risks, exposing young minds to inappropriate content and strangers who may not always have the best intentions. During this holiday season, keep in mind your kids will spend more time online and you need to be watchful.
For concerned parents, it’s no longer possible to keep our kids away from computers and pretend the Internet doesn’t exist. Instead, we need to properly prepare them for a digital future and coach them so they can make good decisions. That means understanding our children’s online activities and developing rules and guidelines that both the parent and child can embrace.
5 Tips for Providing a Safe and Secure Environment Online
#1: Be informed – Find out what your child likes to do on the Web, which sites he likes to visit, and which games he plays. Spend time together online and show an interest in what he’s doing. Asking him what are his favorites will also allow you to create a teachable bonding moment.
#2: Start a dialogue – Talk to your child about online safety and be specific about your concerns. Let him know there are safe and unsafe web sites, just as there are safe and unsafe places to go in the real world. Talk about the importance of resisting contact with people he doesn’t know, and immediately telling you about anything that makes him uncomfortable.
#3: Protect personal information – Teach your child to respect personal information, both his own and other people’s. Teach him never to share passwords, phone numbers, addresses, or other personal information, and to never post pictures or information about other people without their permission.
#4: Click smart – Teach your child not to open files or click on links unless they are from a trusted source. Talk about the dangers of malware and how viruses can harm files and the performance of the computer.
#5: Install parental controls – Install a top-rated suite of parental controls to protect your home computers and monitor your child’s use. All-in-one solutions include blocking features to restrict or filter inappropriate content, time-management controls to limit screen time, and tools to monitor your child’s communications. Let your child know that you have installed parental controls; trust is the foundation of good decision-making.
If you maintain a dialogue and are consistent in your approach, your child will quickly develop the good online habits that will be so important through the teen years and beyond. Don’t leave it to chance or let others teach your child. Become an online parent today!
Want more tips on online parenting? Visit TheOnlineMom.com for tips on how to keep your family safe and secure online!