In today's climate, is there anything more prevalent than the Internet? In fact, we've grown so accustomed to using it that the Internet now seems to help us meet any need or want. Unfortunately, we don't often think about the effect that has on our kids, who have never known a world without this level of technology.
For the most part, the Internet is an incredible boon to our children. They can look up anything they're curious about and will be met with more information than previously fathomed. Many of us remember visiting the library to research topics, and even then, resources were limited compared to what can easily be found online today.
While the Internet offers many benefits for kids, there are risks. That's why it's important to keep your children protected. Before your kids get a social media account or dive headfirst into the web, take the following security measures.
Nearly every device that can connect to the Internet has some level of parental control. With computers and laptops, you can restrict what websites and apps your children visit. You can also specify which websites you want totally blocked. This is an option on many tablets and smartphones as well. With those, you can actually set time constraints and limits that make it so your child can only use the device for a certain amount of time, and you can even completely restrict usage at night.
When your children first start using the Internet, you must ensure they understand any potential risks. We all know people aren't always who they say they are on the Internet. Similarly, not all information found online is true. When your kids visit websites or use apps, remind them not to share any personal information about themselves. They should never give out their address, school information, phone number or even their e-mail address to anyone online. Even if the person requesting this information claims to be someone they know, they might not be. If your child is using social media, inform them not to accept friend requests from people they don't know. It's important that kids understand all of the risks to ensure they stay safe in the digital and physical world.
If your children are using the Internet, you should become familiar with the websites and applications they use. Make sure all websites have the little padlock icon by them, which indicates they are safe websites. Look through the apps and websites your children frequent to ensure they're safe for them to use and do not contain any inappropriate content.
Lead By Example
Your children's first interactions with the Internet will most likely stem from you, so do your best to set a great example for them. This is your opportunity to model positive online habits for your children. Your social media posts should also be appropriate and not break any of the online rules you set for your own child. In their eyes, it won't be fair if you or someone else in the family can do things they cannot.
Our children are some of the most important people in our lives, so it makes sense that we would do everything in our power to keep them protected. Just make sure your protective efforts extend from the physical world into the digital world as well.