Today’s technology can be incredibly helpful when it comes to communication, entertainment, shopping, gathering information and much more. But that same technology can also be dangerous. Children are particularly vulnerable when it comes to dangerous situations online – so it’s very important that you know how to protect your kids. Following are a few ways you can keep your children safe.
Educate Yourself – The fact is that most children now know much more about online technology than their parents. You need to learn about the many social media options that kids can now access – as well as the ways your child can publish information online about themselves, open dialogue with strangers, download music and surf the net for all manner of information (both bad and good). This will take some time, but it’s worth it to learn all the possible danger points so you can make sure your kids stay away from them.
Establish Rules and Accountability – Before you allow your child access to the internet (whether through a computer, tablet, smart phone or any electronic device) you need to establish some rules. First and foremost, your kids need to know that you reserve the right to monitor their online activities. While you should not be overbearing or obsessive about it, let them know that you will periodically check their internet browser history and/or read their emails, texts, etc. Let your child know that you trust them, but that accountability and responsibility are requirements for being allowed online.
Consider Safeguards – You may want to consider having filters installed in computers or tablets that prevent access to offensive sites. There are also apps available that let you monitor your child’s smart phone activities.
Discuss the Issues – Perhaps most importantly of all, you need to have an honest discussion with your children about the dangers of online technology. You need to make it clear that being careless or reckless online can get people into serious trouble – or even put their lives in danger in extreme cases.