My parents were lucky when it came to my online safety. As an anti-social chickie obsessed with writing, I was the queen of “appear offline.”
The Internet has become such an intense place since I was a kid (which wasn’t even that long ago), and now it’s our main form of communication. Yikes!
I can’t even imagine what parents must go through to keep their children safe online. To make things a little easier, I’ve compiled 20 quick tips to help you out.
- Set specific ground rules based on your child’s Internet usage (and personality).
- Make sure they understand that people they “meet” online may be using a fake identity.
- Let them know the importance of keeping their personal details offline.
- Setup a family e-mail address they can use when filling out online forms, registering for contests, etc.
- Welcome them to come to you if they’re being bullied online.
- Have them promise they’ll never meet someone they don’t know in person, unless supervised.
- Setup parental control settings on your browser and search engine.
- Consider software specific to Internet security (recommended tools are below).
- Setup your antivirus software to block pop-ups and spam.
- If your child is younger, always sit with them while they’re on the Internet.
- Learn how to use the social networking sites your child participates on, in case it’s necessary in the future.
- Encourage them not to download anything to the computer without your permission.
- Set limits for when they can use the computer, and for how long.
- Keep the family computer in a public area of the house.
- Create a private login for yourself, so your child doesn’t have access to your files and won’t come across banking/credit card information.
- Bookmark/subscribe to websites that specialize in Internet safety, so you can stay on top of what’s going on. (A few recommended sites are below.)
- Check your child’s browsing and search history regularly to make sure they’re keeping up their end of the bargain.
- Periodically check your child’s contact lists on IM and social media sites, and request they remove anyone they haven’t met in person.
- Let them know the warning signs of Internet danger so they’ll become instinctual about keeping themselves safe.
- Offer homework tips, such as good sites to use for research. Consider blocking any sites that might encourage them to plagiarize.
What measures do you take to keep your kids safe online? If there are tips and tools you find especially useful, feel free to share them below!
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