The Internet can be a vastly useful tool for learning and communication — but there’s emphasis on the word “vast.” Cyberspace is huge, and getting bigger all the time, if you can believe it. If you think it might be out there, it probably already is, and for a lot of it… let’s just say you don’t want your kids stumbling across it. Here are some helpful tips for Internet safety you can use to ensure both you and your kids have a safe and productive online experience.
Where They Go. Most Internet browsers come equipped with parental controls, so you can basically filter out certain types of sites so that they won’t show up in search engine results (Google’s “SafeSearch” settings are a prime example) and your kids can’t manually type them into the address bar. Additional software exists for even more refined control.
What Comes to Them. Not all cyberthreats lie in wait — some of them have legs, and come running from all directions. Standard firewalls and anti-virus software will protect against much of the most aggressive dangers. But a great low-tech solution is to set a time limit on how long your kids spend online, thus reducing exposure and possible openings for malicious threats — and perhaps improving their face-to-face social skills in the meantime.
How They Interact. Sometimes it’s not as clear-cut as visiting a website or being the target of malware. Sometimes, kids can unknowingly put themselves in danger. Perhaps the best example of this is social media, and the massive percentage of teens who have profiles. Instagram monitoring tools and social media monitoring software can keep you up-to-date on what your kids are sharing online (and who they’re sharing it with). Remember though, the best iPhone monitoring software in the world can catch everything.
And so, the silver bullet, the tip for Internet safety to end all tips for Internet safety, is communication. If you’re not comfortable talking to your kids about the dangers of the Internet, they won’t ask you to. And they’ll continue to try to figure things out on their own. And while, to a certain extent, that is their job as children, it’s your job as a parent to make sure they stay as safe as you can make them in the meantime.
Do you have any tips for Internet safety you’ve found to be successful? Please share them in the comments below. Learn more about this topic here.
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