We protect our children from vehicles by keeping them on the sidewalk when we are out on the streets. For our child’s health, we keep them safe by making them healthy. But when it comes to the internet, how do we protect them?
As children today are using more and more devices, such as personal computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones, they are more at risk for online bullies, predators, and inappropriate online content.
It is, thus, natural for parents to worry about the potential dangers online. So what can parents do to protect their child on the internet?
In this article, we’ll provide you with five tips for protecting your child online:
1. Create Ground Rules
Establish a set of internet safety rules for your child. When they use the internet, they must follow a few ground rules that you’ve established. Some examples of these ground rules can include:
- Not sharing personal information, such as phone numbers, online.
- Not sharing pictures with people they don’t know.
- Turning their location off.
- Not accepting a friend request or not following someone they don’t know personally.
- Conversations should be limited to the game and never divulge personal information when talking to strangers on gaming platforms.
You will have to talk with your kids about why these rules need to be in place. And now and then, monitor your child’s online activities if they are indeed following your directions.
2. Tell Them You Will Monitor Their Online Activity
Make your child aware that you will be monitoring their online activity. By letting them know you will be checking their social media, messages, phone settings, and other online activities, your child will be more mindful of their online behavior.
It will also prevent any misunderstanding between you and your child, especially young teens. By letting them know that you will be checking their online activity, they will not feel that you’re invading their personal life or privacy since they’ve agreed to it.
3. Arrange Computers and Devices in Common Areas
If your child is using a laptop or personal computer, make sure you place them in a communal area such as your living room. This allows you to check your child’s devices occasionally, without having to enter their room or without having to sneak into their devices.
While it is tempting to arrange your child’s devices away from you so you can get work done at home, it’s always safe to have your child close to you so you can casually keep an eye on what they’re doing on screen.
If your child is using their phone or tablet, you can set up a charging station in your living room, den, or kitchen, so they will be forced to use their devices outside the privacy of their rooms.
4. Use Parental Controls
There are parental control settings in digital devices. These child-safety tools are typically built into major operating systems such as Windows and Mac, and you can adjust them using the Google Safe Search settings. Paid applications that offer more control and restrictions are also available if you want more features.
These parental controls help prevent younger children from viewing disturbing and inappropriate content and limit their ability to share any links or information online.
You can also use a cell phone tracker for maximum control of your child’s online activities. While a spy software or app like mSpy, which is considered the #1 cell phone tracker for parental control, can help you protect your child, it should be a last resort.
These cell phone trackers allow you to track your child’s location, view their text messages, call history, social network activity, and all the activities they do on their phone and online. You will have information if they are talking to a stranger, if they are being bullied, or if they are viewing violent or sexual content online.
5. Make Your Child Comfortable in Reporting Any Unusual Online Activities
And lastly, you should sit down with your child and let them know that if they witness any unusual online activities, you are there to listen and help.
If an adult has sent them an inappropriate message, let them know that they can come to you. If they are being bullied, make sure your child feels comfortable enough to talk to you about it.
You won’t always be on top of everything your child does. And you won’t be able to protect them 100% all of the time. They will eventually live their own lives and interact with other people. Still, if they are comfortable enough to confide in you, you can feel safe that if anything inappropriate happens to your child online, they will talk to you about it.
The internet is a great place to connect and be informed, but it can also be a dangerous place for your children. They can have instant access to inappropriate content, such as violent or sexual images or videos that no child should be exposed to. And worse, some predators and bullies search for victims online every second.
You can’t prevent your child from using an online device, such as a smartphone or computer, but you can take measures to ensure they are safe when using the internet. Online safety is your responsibility as a parent, and taking steps to keep them safe should be a top priority.
By monitoring their online activities, making sure you set ground rules, or using software like mSpy, you can have the peace of mind that your child is protected when they play or connect online.