Now Monkey is starting to use a computer at school I really need to think about protecting him when he’s using the computer at home. Here are three ways to safeguard your child online:
The internet can seem like a huge, dangerous landscape to parents. Worse, it’s one in which kids are increasingly confident, no matter how well-informed they may actually be about staying safe online. There’s no escaping the fact that our world is increasingly dependent on internet know-how, and it’s a constant challenge to make sure your children are equipped with the skills they’ll need later in life without risking their immediate safety. So here are the three things you need to know about internet security for kids, and how you can get started making the computer your friend rather than your enemy.
1. Begin with a frank discussion
It’s important to begin any internet safety measures with a discussion about why they’re necessary. That doesn’t mean your children have to agree with your decision, but their understanding will make things a lot easier. No security measure is going to catch every possible source of harm, so equipping them with the knowledge to avoid what gets through is essential.
Communicating the responsibility of web access can be helpful. If your children know that there are people who will try to gain access to their parents’ finances or information through them, they’ll be much less likely to over share with strangers. It’s also useful to go over some of the more common techniques fraudsters might use, and especially to make it clear that harmful content will often be presented as something safe and desirable.
2. You can block and/or restrict content
There is a wealth of child security software on the market that will block adult content and restrict what children can do online. There’s no arguing that this isn’t effective, but it’s an absolute stance with its own risks. Simply blocking adult content can make it seem more interesting, and the world is full of computers you don’t have control over. That’s why it’s so important to begin with a discussion of risks.
3. You can monitor web behaviour
From just tracking visited websites in a web browser’s ‘history’ tab to installing software that allows you to see a computer’s screen from a portable device, there are lots of ways to follow your children’s web behaviour. This kind of monitoring allows constant course correction while still giving your children the freedom to grow and experiment in a valuable and exciting environment.
However you choose to protect your children, remember that communication is key. The most effective thing you can do to guarantee online safety is to make a child’s online activities something they can openly discuss with you, allowing you to avoid dangerous situations rather than cope once they’re already underway.
What other tips can you offer?
disclaimer: This is a collaborative post