As parents, our job is to protect our children in every way possible. The internet is a part of today’s world that almost everyone is involved in. Here are five ways that you can protect your child online so that internet use can be a joy and not a burden to you and your family.
1. Always Monitor Your Child’s Internet Usage
Although it can be time-consuming, be sure to keep tabs on what is going on in your child’s online life. Keep the computer in your main living area, rather than a child’s room. Always keep your child’s email passwords, and passwords for any online accounts he or she has. Know what he is playing, what sites he is going on, and who he is talking to.
2. Be Honest and Upfront
Don’t be deceptive when you are monitoring your child’s online use. Let him know that you will be signing into his accounts, reading emails and tracking computer use. This way there are no surprises for your child, and he is aware that you are looking out for him. By modelling honesty, you are laying the groundwork for him to do the same with you.
3. Be Open and Honest about Dangers
Don’t sugar-coat the dangers of the internet. Although it is important to only give age-appropriate information, be sure to let your child know anything he needs to know to keep himself safe online. Warn him about things that have happened to others, such as online bullying, identity theft, and personal harm. This way your child will not naively walk into a dangerous situation, but will be better equipped with the knowledge necessary to protect himself.
4. Have Age-Appropriate Talks
Whether your child is a teen or at an age where they have discovered the internet only recently, speak to them about the topic regularly.
With older teens, you can go into greater detail about the safety risks of being online, and the dangers of unwise online behavior. If your child is younger, don’t say too much and put undue fear into them, but do give them a general sense of why it is important to be cautious when one is online.
Let him know there are people with bad motives who pretend to be friends so they can hurt him, and remind him not to trust, chat with or agree to meet anyone in person.
5. Put a Safeguard on Your Computer
Communication with your child is essential, but the internet can be overwhelmingly tempting to children. Use an internet safety program that will help you to keep your child safeguarded from the temptation to use the internet unwisely, and that will assist in keeping them from viewing words and images that they will never be able to forget.
There are a variety of internet safety programs that help you do just this. These programs can do a number of things such as filter pages that have bad language and inappropriate photos, give you a log of where your child has been online, and put a timer on each family member so that they cannot exceed their allotted time. Here are links to a couple, but you can look for even more:
Internet safety is one of the hot topics of our age. It is essential that we discuss it as we raise our children, in order to keep them safe both in their day-to-day life and online. By protecting your child online, you will allow them a better quality of life and be an example to pass on to the next generation.