With the abundance of technology and the ease of internet access, there are a few things that every parent should know about keeping our children safe. While the internet is a great source of information, there are still some precautions to abide by.
First and foremost, we all need to be discussing common safety to our children on a daily basis. A good first step is to create rules as a family of how to use the internet. Go over the internet safety rules and guidelines with children before any type of play or search starts.
To start, don’t be afraid to talk with your child. They have been exposed to technology since birth and already have a vast knowledge of how to use technology. Find out what they know, and what they wish to use the internet for. Be open and direct about what can be found on the internet, and consequences if the internet is misused.
Keep yourself educated by going online and visiting websites and games your child is interested in prior to allowing them to have access. Make sure to check and see if they are appropriate for your child.
Activate the parental controls/safety setting in your computer/mobile device and in the browser to help eliminate unwanted websites and other pop-ups from gaining access to your device.
Monitor your child’s screen-time and only allow a limited time of use for the devices.
Explore the internet with your children. Go online with your child and see what they are interested in. Show them how to find things safely. Have fun learning with your child while teaching them good internet habits.
Teach your child about the dangers of the internet. Explain that not everyone on the internet is going to be your friend and that they should let you know if a stranger is trying to talk to them. Explain that they are NOT to give out any personal information to anyone over the internet, and that they must ask you to provide that information to a website/person. Report any suspicious activity to local authority.
For older children with social media: Follow and friend your child to allow for social media check ups. Remind the child that they are not to friend strangers and give strangers their personal information.
Encourage your child to create a good digital reputation by being mindful of what is said and posted on social media. Remind older children that once something is posted on the internet, it is there forever.
Finally a little safety tip for parents:
Make sure that before you input any information on a website to first check for an “s” after the http portion of the web address. The “s” means the website is on a secure website and gives the user reassurance that the website is safe to add personal information.
With a little diligence, and some parental controls (both digital and in person), the internet is a great tool to help children enhance a child’s curiosity and thirst to learn more information. By taking the steps listed above, we can all help our children quench this thirst by providing safe access to the questions they so eagerly seek.
Ms. Tarah Daniels -English Teacher- Frontiers Academy