Ten Ways to Protect Your Children Online
You do many things in life to protect your children. You teach them how to safely cross the road, buckle them into a car, and teach them to avoid playing with fire. You also teach them how to be careful around strangers, but you may not consider how to protect your children online.
The internet is a key part of almost everyone’s life and having a strategy to protect your children online is part of being a good parent. Children are curious and have the innocence of being young. Here are ten ways to help you protect your children online:
- First, sit down and talk to them about the dangers of using the internet and that you expect them to obey what you tell them. Set limits on what they can do and let them know. Let them know what is allowed and not allowed to be disclosed over the internet (names, location, etc.). Also, let them know that there will be consequences for not obeying.
- Place your computer in an open area visible by others in the room. This lets you see what they are doing and help them have safe internet usage practices. Tablet use should also be in a common area and not to be done alone.
- Involve yourself with your children’s activities. Sit with them and play the games they like to play and research topics they are interested in. The goal is that your children are comfortable with using the internet with you and that you are approachable about using the internet.
- Be sure to monitor your children’s internet activity and let them know that you are doing so. This will help build trust and accountability between your children and you.
- Create a user account for each child to use that does not have administrator privileges. This way they cannot install programs without your permission. Make sure your administrator account and wireless network have a secure password.
- Use an antivirus program and regularly scan your computers for viruses and malware. If you have any questions, we will be glad to help you choose what is best for your needs.
- Set search engine protections. Choose a search engine that allows you to set “safe search” content restrictions that are appropriate for children.
Call your internet service provider and ask what protections they may have to offer for safe web usage. Many of them do and will help you protect your children while using the internet.
- Purchase an internet filtering and monitoring service such as Net Nanny or Safe Eyes. These type of programs provide more control over internet use that you can use to protect your children.
- Regularly review activity logs and the apps on your children’s computers and tablets. Be sure that you are familiar with what each app can do on the internet so that you are aware of what they can be used for.
Children are a great joy and terror all rolled up into one. As a parent, take your responsibility seriously in protecting them physically and mentally by protecting them online as well.