by Andrea Gibbs
Children are susceptible to online dangers just as adults are, but their lack of experience and comprehension often leads them to put themselves in more dangerous situations than they realize. Many parents are unaware of the dangers their child faces on the Internet and may not think they are doing anything wrong.
Providing a child with information while keeping their age in mind can help them make better online decisions. Most children do not know why they use the Internet, so a parent should ask them questions to try and get an answer. Both parent and child must learn how to handle the dangers of Internet life they encounter.
There are advantages and downsides to using the Internet, and it is essential to know what they are to make informed decisions. Knowing the risks can help a child stay safe while enjoying the Internet’s benefits. Here’s an article with some excellent tips on educating your child about internet safety.
EXPLAIN THAT THE INTERNET CAN BE A DANGEROUS PLACE
As a parent, you must teach your child how to use the internet responsibly. You’ll want to tell kids that the internet isn’t this magical realm where everyone can be trusted. Kids need to understand that there are people who lie and trick others into doing things they should not do. It’s also important for parents to have an open dialogue with their kids about Internet safety, so they don’t feel uncomfortable asking questions or talking about what they find on the web in front of family members or friends.
1. Explain To Your Child How The Internet Works
Kids need to know how the internet works and why it can be dangerous. Explain that people can post things on the internet, but they don’t always mean what they say, so it is up to readers to decide whether the information is accurate. Also, explain what a web browser is and tell your child that you will get one so they can learn how to use it.
2. Teach Them How To Protect Their Personal Information
One of the biggest dangers in using the internet is that kids can post personal information without knowing what could happen. It’s essential for parents to teach their kids about the dangers of posting personal information, like their address or phone number, online. Explain why it is dangerous and how people could use that information against them. Also, explain how viruses propagate via email communications so that they can prevent them.
3. Teach Them How To Block Unwanted Content
Many websites on the internet display content kids shouldn’t see. Parents must teach their kids how to block content they don’t want to view. Give them tips on how to change their settings so they can block certain types of content. If you notice your child going online at a place other than home, let them know that these places probably won’t have the same protections as your home computer, and it may be subject to other users viewing inappropriate material.
SOCIAL MEDIA AWARENESS
Social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and others, can be a great way to connect with friends and family. There are advantages to being friends on these sites as well. However, these sites can become a significant security risk if not used responsibly. Your child may be tempted to tell people on social media sites personal information or even pictures and videos of things they wouldn’t want others to know about. To keep your child from sharing information that might attract strangers online or violate their privacy, teach them the following tips:
1. Establish Guidelines
Social media tends to be addictive, and your child may want to spend more time online than they should because they feel like missing out on something. You will want to establish regular times when your child can use the internet and set rules for them on what type of information can be shared. For example, tell them that conversations about personal data should only be made with friends and that posting pictures or videos must have your permission first.
2. Teach Them Properly How To Use Social Media
To ensure your child is using social media safely, teach them some basic rules. Explain that they should never share private information with people they don’t know and check to see if someone else posted a picture on their profile before reposting it.
3. Teach Them How To Deactivate The Site
If your child decides to leave a social media site or change their settings, teach them to deactivate their account. Tell them that the deactivation process is a simple way to prevent people from taking over your child’s account and spreading malicious files.
4. Keep An Eye On Your Child’s Activity
Invite your child to tell you what they are doing and their social media accounts so you can keep an eye on their activity when they’re online. You can also talk to them about what they posted and ask them questions about their photos or videos.
5. Encourage Your Child To Use A Virtual Private Network
Many social media sites are free but often track and sell your child’s information. To eliminate the risk of this type of tracking, teach your child to use a virtual private network when they’re online. VPNs mask a user’s identity and location by sending their IP address to a different site so that no one can track them down.
SET UP PARENTAL CONTROLS
Parental controls are one of the most effective ways to lock down your child’s computer. The software can be used on desktops and laptops to restrict what they can do online, even if they have administrator rights on their computer. You can also lock down your home wifi router, so kids only have access to sites you allow them to see. This will prevent them from surfing the web freely and protect them from inappropriate Internet content.
1. Let Your Child Know Why Parental Controls Are Necessary
It is essential to let your child know why having parental controls are necessary. Explain that these controls will protect them from sites and files they shouldn’t see and keep their identity private online. Tell them there are some sites they should never go on, regardless of what a friend says, so they need to know that you’ve got their back.
2. Give Them A Simple Explanation
One of the biggest reasons kids don’t want to use parental controls is because they feel it will slow them down. Explain that these controls will not change how quickly they can do things online and that they will still be able to use their computer as they usually would. Let them know that it will only lock down the sites and content that might harm them.
3. Post The Parental Controls Password In A Safe Place
Make sure your child knows where the parental controls password is, just in case they ever need it. Tell them to figure out the password if they forget it and set a backup plan in place if they ignore it by writing it down somewhere else in case their first choice isn’t accessible.
As a parent, you understand how important it is to keep your children safe. You are responsible for their wellbeing and ensuring they are in a secure environment on the Internet. Your child needs to know about the dangers of the Internet and how to stay safe from them. These tips will help you avoid potential issues for your children and keep their privacy intact.
Andrea Gibbs is the Content Manager at SpringHive Web Agency, where she helps create content for their clients’ blogs and websites. She is currently a blog contributor at Montessori Academy, a blog dedicated to helping parents with the ins and outs of parenting children within the Montessori tradition. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys spending time with her family and her dog.