As a mother to many, I have worried about the kids being online, playing video games, in chat rooms, and communicating in any way to strangers on the other end. While 95% of the people they engage with online might be other kids, that leaves 5% of the remaining gamers as potential predators/threats to my child. As a blogging mother, and blogger that has a following of mothers, I thought it was time to write about the importance of your Childs safety online.
Children today are born into a world that is thriving with online access and capabilities. They use the Internet for research, play games, do school projects, and socialize with family and friends with just a click of a button.
Though this is an excellent tool for learning and connecting, children are at a high risk of becoming easy online prey. As adults, we know how dangerous the Internet can be. From online predators, scams, to cyberbullying, children are significantly susceptible to these negative traits. In order to ensure your child’s safety when they are web surfing, it is critical for parents to take the necessary precautions to avoid any detrimental outcomes.
Educate Your Child
Education is key. First and foremost, you need to have a detailed educational session about proper Internet use before you allow your child to dive face-first into their computer screen. If they know what the red flags are and what to stay away from right in the beginning, it may deter them from going to specific sites altogether. Another preventative measure would be to introduce them to kid friendly sites in the first place, save them as bookmarks, and show them how to navigate to that pre-determined list of safe kids websites.
Another essential step is being aware of the sites they are searching for and who they are talking to. Make sure that any information being putting out there is appropriate and that your child is not sharing any essential information such as phone numbers and home addresses. You can do this by asking your child directly or investing in monitoring software.
Set Up Parental Controls
Even if you already went through Internet safety methods and monitor your child’s online activity, you can take the extra step and block individual sites that you know are dangerous. This prevents them from accessing those locations altogether, which will drastically reduce the risk of them becoming a victim. Look into your Internet service provider’s parental control options if they have them, or invest in software that blocks site access and restrict personal information from being sent online. Some platforms even offer alert settings, which will notify you instantly if your child tries to access an inappropriate or a blocked site.
Do Not Forget About Cell Phones
Chances are that if your child has a computer, they will most likely have a cellphone too that has Internet access. To cover all your basis, start monitoring their cellphone use as well. You can do this by having your child ask permission before installing new apps, set up safe search modes, and understanding their phone’s overall capabilities. There are also apps available that will monitor phone usage if you wish to take that route.
The Internet opens doors to endless knowledge and opportunities. However, with it comes high-risk situations. With children having the ability to explore the online world, making sure they have a safe place to venture is vital. This is why taking steps to tighten up security and limit certain pages that could be harmful, and adequately educating your child will help reduce the risk and give them a much safer browsing experience.