We love the internet around here. Never before have we had such easy access to amazing info, fun ideas, and great games. The internet and media devices are wonderful resources for our children (and ourselves) to learn and play. But just as you would teach your child to hold hands when crossing the street, we parents MUST teach them how to be safe when surfing the web. Media and internet are not going away. It gets bigger and easier each year. So the best time is NOW to teach children safe internet skills.
Tips For Keeping Kids Safe on The Internet:
1. Stay out in the open. Keep the computer in a main room where you can see what is going on. Have your children use tech devices around you. In the same way you keep an eye on your busy toddler, keep an eye on your child who is using the internet.
2. Learn how to use the internet yourself. Keep up with the ever-changing world wide web. Learn how to use social media, apps, devices, and technology in general. In order to know what your kids are dealing with, you must have an idea of how to work the internet yourself. You’ll be able to talk with them about it better if you are internet savvy and understand the jargon.
3. Watch out for the “good sites” too. Even with regular sites like Amazon.com, Facebook, and YouTube a child can easily get lost into unwanted territory. A recent study showed that children are only 3 clicks away from inappropriate content on YouTube. Keep adult apps off the devices your children use. Even if they usually just play the games, they may sometime wander into the wrong apps when you are not watching.
4. Have a family plan. As parents we talk to our kids about drugs and drunk driving, and now it’s time to have regular and frank conversations about the dangers of the internet. They need to know about online predators, cyber bullying, pornography, and sexting. As a family, create a safety plan about what to do in a bad internet situation. Here’s some ideas for starters:
*Have them immediately shut down their device and come talk to you if they see something that makes them uncomfortable or feel bad.
*Share passwords. Always keep track of their passwords and accounts. Be open about it, so they know you are there to help protect them and watch over them. It’s not prying or babying them. It’s helping them.
*Limit their internet use (and yours). Have a scheduled time that they can use it when you are around and aware.
*Keep their devices for them. When it’s not their “internet time” parents should keep track of the device and put it safely away. Out of sight, out of mind.
*Install safety software and apps on your computers and devices. Use passwords keep them out of sites. There are tons of options out there for this kind of thing. Use it.
5. Communicate often. Keep the conversations going with your children. Stay involved in their lives. Be there for them. Have fun with them and get them talking. Let them know you are always there for them and ready to help. Having open communication with your children will be vital if/when an internet problem comes along.
P.S. I feel pretty strongly about this. I originally wrote this article for Protect America and for Amber Alert GPS and it was published in December 2013 and January 2014. I thought I would share it with my readers as well. Here is the links to those article: Internet Safety Tips From a Mom and Keeping Kids Safe on the Internet.
This is getting shared A LOT. I think it’s because we parents are realizing how important internet safety is. PLEASE SHARE THIS and help other’s know what to do!! Thank you.