Every single day, millions of people go online to the internet. Some stay on for a few minutes, others for hours at a time. People immerse the internet as part of their daily routines whether it be for personal reasons or business. People have email accounts, surf websites, chat it up on social media, read articles, research on search engines or just surf the net for fun. Though the internet is a big and vast virtual world many wish to explore, some people don’t know or understand the many dangers that can be encountered such as dangerous viruses, spam, sneaky hackers, unreliable information and false identities.
The internet may be a big thing for everybody, but nobody is safe no matter how safe and sound programs you buy to ensure online safety. Those who use personal computers, tablets, androids or laptops understand how important it is to keep their technology safe. But trust me, it’s not an easy task. Something is always going to get past an anti-virus program, firewalls or control settings. Those things, as a grown-up, I can handle because I’ve always been a computer geek and tend to run whatever I need to to keep my laptop running at full capacity. And the internet is the main reason these types of problems can occur.
Along with these kinds of issues though, I personally get concerned about online safety when it comes to children. As I mentioned earlier, the internet can be a scary place where anything can happen. That’s why when it comes to the internet, my kids are top priority to keep them from any troubles. Every day I hear about situations with kids where they meet someone online and end up hurt or missing. Sometimes even worse. There’s also issues with hackers that can take over webcams and monitors or enter a personal network to gather information on anybody they please.
Sometimes I really don’t want to allow young ones online just because of these problems. But I know there would only be problems. Kids and teens use computers to chat it up with friends on social media or Skype. They also surf the web to do research on different topics or play some games to pass the time. Those things are not a big deal if you know what they’re doing. But sometimes, as a parent, limitations or restrictions should be set until they are old enough to grasp the concept of what is right and wrong online.
For these reasons, I have encountered, or used, methods that makes going online a bit safer for your loved little ones, kids and teenagers alike. And now I’m sharing what I’ve learned with you. See some things you can do to keep your children safe:
- Parental Control – All computers/laptops have a parental control program for websites. And it also depends on browsers you run. By going to Parental Control settings, you can set limitations or restrictions on what is good for your child. Even computer logons you can have their account controlled. If you don’t know how, ask someone who might or call your computer company.
- Supervision – If you want to watch what your child does online, then set the computer in a central-controlled area where you can keep an eye on them. This way they can play games, instant message, surf the web or do whatever they want while be overlooked. It’s a great way to show or tell them if they are doing something right or wrong.
- Block – There are millions of websites out there. Most of them might not be safe for your child’s age, so the best thing you can do is block it. A new website pops up that’s not good, block it. Spam or ads, block them. Any people or chats you don’t want your child to have contact with, block. It’s that simple. But remember that settings for blocking are different on computers or online. Find out the settings from either your computer company or the website.
- Social Media – This is a big thing to put safety on as anybody can befriend or talk with you kids. If your kids use Facebook or MySpace, the best thing you can do is get the privacy settings set so no strangers can befriend or message them unless they know them personally. Set profiles to private so no pictures, posts or information can be accessed from the public. Not only these, but check out what chatrooms the kids use, too. If they’re age appropriate, all well and good, but if you get a bad feeling, find a way to block your child from getting in.
- Network – Most families use routers to get wi-fi going through the house for cells, tablets, computers, laptops, etc. By doing this, you allow your network to be used publicly. The best thing you can do is make it a private network by using a very strong Wi-fi password. It lessens any hacking attempts or strangers from accessing your personal information.
- Browsing History – No one wants to be a nosy parent, but sometimes it’s rather necessary. For younger kids, checking browser history would be a good idea. Sometimes an unexpected site will pop up, but usually it’s by accident like spam. Older kids know what they’re doing and should be good to go, but if you think or feel something is up, then check the history. If your kids have a habit of deleting history, make it a rule that it cannot be deleted until the end of the day.
- Talk – By talking to your children about internet safety, it can help them develop basic common sense on their own safety while surfing the web. Speaking about what they should and shouldn’t do, who to talk to and not and if any issues come up, they should come to you immediately. Being able to talk about it helps put confidence in your child.
- Screen names/Passwords – Never, ever let screen names and passwords be given out to anybody. Even your own family members except for mom and dad if necessary. By volunteering this information, anybody can get into accounts and mess things up by getting personal information. You don’t want that.
- Apps – Older kids and teens have smartphones or androids. Before downloading apps, make sure your kids read any reviews and possible issues with it. There have been some hacking attempts disguised as apps, so let them know to be careful about downloading just any old game or movie.
And the last thing I would say to benefit online safety is trust. If you can trust your children to understand the rules and limitations of online conduct, things will be okay. By creating a trusting bond between you two, it’ll help ease your mind to know they are not doing anything wrong and are okay while online.