7 Tips to Ensure Your Child is Safer on the Internet
There is a whole world out there for your child to discover, and the Internet is a big part of that world. While the Internet can be an incredible source of learning and growing for kids, in the absence of proper guidance it can easily turn into a risky affair with bad outcomes. Whether it’s online bullying, malware and phishing threats, dangerous online games, or age-inappropriate content, there are many Internet related threats that children need to be properly educated about. Since it’s next to impossible to keep your child untouched by the Internet, the best possible thing to do is take measures that protect your child as they set out on their journey of exploring the online world. Follow the tips below to ensure a safer Internet browsing experience for your child:
Start The Internet Surfing Experience Together
When you think the time is right for your child to be exposed to the Internet, make a plan to embark on this new experience together. This is the time that you should take to teach them about the good uses of the Internet. For example, you can pick a school subject that your child finds interesting. Together with your child, you could then dig up interesting, educational information online on the subject. Whether it’s related videos on YouTube or images on Google, look up any form of content that would appeal your child. Don’t limit yourself to just the educational stuff either. You could play safe and kid-friendly online games together too. You want to train your child’s mind to think of the Internet as a place where they can learn and enjoy.
Put Some Basic Ground Rules In Place
Have some basic rules in place governing your child’s Internet use, from how much time they can spend daily on the Internet to what websites they can visit. Discuss these rules with them, letting them know not only what these rules are, but also why these rules are important. It’s important for the child to know that these rules are for their own good, that will make it much more likely for them to follow the rules.
Take Help of Software Tools for Protection
What if your young child wants to use the Internet alone? If you don’t want this to happen at all, you could lock the device with a password. This will keep the device and, thus the Internet, out of the child’s reach. But if you think your child is old enough to start using the Internet alone, then it’s time for you to let them have the freedom in a safe and controlled way. To ensure that they don’t view or access something that they shouldn’t, you could take help of good parental control software and other Internet security software. Using such applications, you can keep a track of their Internet usage, block certain types of content and websites, define time limit for use, among many other things.
Warn Them About the Online Security Threats
You should use good Internet security software for protection against online threats like malware, viruses, phishing emails, spyware, etc. But what’s even more important is that you teach your kid the reason for using such a software in the first place, which means making them aware of the common online security threats. Explain to them what a suspicious pop-up, ad, or email looks like, and why clicking on any of them can be dangerous. Warn them about the dangers of divulging personal information that such pop-ups, ads, and emails may ask for. If you let your child know what they should be watching out for, they’ll be able to make much better decisions when surfing the Internet.
Encourage Safe and Healthy Social Networking Practices
Soon, your child would want to join the glitzy world of social media. As and when they do, you should have a conversation with them regarding safe and constructive use of social media. Advise them to befriend only those people online whom they know in real life too. Tell them what kind of personal information, pictures, and videos should and shouldn’t be shared online. Teach them what cyber bullying is and encourage them to come talk to you if they ever feel harassed online. Make them aware of the risks of responding to messages from unknown people and of meeting in person with a stranger they met on social media.
Teach Them Safe Ways to Shop Online
Shopping online is mostly a convenience. But, it can turn into a trap too if kids aren’t taught the safe ways to do it. Talk to your kids about using only trusted shopping websites and mobile apps, that ensure apt protection of the payment details, for purchasing items online. Recommend shopping from HTTPS websites, that offer secure transactions through encryption. Tell them about the kind of personal details usually required for an online shopping transaction and to avoid any e-commerce website or app that asks for strangely unusual information. Because shopping online is so easy and convenient, it can get pretty addictive too. That is another subject you should talk to your child about, keeping the shopping in check.
Communicate Often About Their Use of Internet
As your child grows up and becomes more independent, your direct involvement in their Internet use will become less and less. Eventually, it will be out of your hands to closely monitor what they are doing online. It’s best to accept this natural course of things. With some effort, you can still remain in touch with your child’s Internet use. Maintain a regular, friendly dialogue with your child about their online activities. You’re not trying to press them for information, you’re just trying to make talking about Internet a friendly topic in the house. That way, if they ever run into any trouble during their Internet use, they’ll know that they can turn to you.