The Internet is a very helpful tool in staying connected to people in your community, providing easier access to important information and online activities. Engaging with the Internet also comes with downsides, such as online threats that could potentially harm you and your family. As parents, we always keep our kids’ safety in check, which should also include securing the content they see online. Check out how you can keep your kids safe when they use the Internet:
- Have a discussion with your kids about what they do online – It is important to have an open conversation with your kids about the Internet once you have given permission on its access. They should know that having access to it is a responsibility, and you should always ask them what sites they visit. Talk to your child about what is appropriate and what is not and let them know the reason why so they will have better a understanding. Listen to them and reach an agreement so they do not feel like their opinions don’t matter. Most importantly, your kids should learn the importance of their reputation online and how the Internet is a public place, where whatever they post may affect their future.
- Always keep an eye on their devices – Ensure you are around to monitor what your kids are doing online. It is best not to leave them to their own devices, especially with younger kids who still haven’t grasped the idea of the Internet. If your child is using a smartphone, you can set it to “forget WiFi passcodes” so they don’t accidentally go online without your permission. Discuss with them what the rules are around Internet usage such as not using any devices in their bedrooms. You can also check their browser history just in case they have visited a suspicious site, but this only applies to younger children.
- Learn about parental controls – The Internet provides various nuggets of information, unfortunately, it can also provide information that are not so child-friendly. In order to protect your kids from coming into contact with unfortunate situations, learn more about parental controls or search restrictions that are offered by web browsers, internet service providers, and devices. Google has some helpful parental controls, one of which you can install using the Play Store or through the Google Chrome browser. If you’re using an Apple device, you can set your iPhones’ parental controls via Screen Time found on Settings. You can learn more about parental controls here.
Your kid’s online activities should always be monitored to ensure their safety, and they should know the reason why. Keep open lines of communication while giving them enough freedom to explore online. Enabling parental controls and restrictions will make it easier for you to monitor their online activities and keep them safe. Stay tuned for more tips in our 3-part series on how to keep your kids safe on the Internet.