Internet Safety Tips For Parents
The internet offers your children access to a wealth of information that previous generations did not have. However, using the internet also exposes your children to online predators and illicit material. Here are a few tips to keep your kids safe while they use the internet.
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1. Do not put a computer in your child’s room.
It is important that you monitor your child’s internet usage, but you don’t want your child to feel that you are standing over her shoulder at every moment. A simple solution to this problem is to put the computer that your child uses in a family room instead of the child’s bedroom. This way, your child will know you are in the room and is less likely to visit inappropriate websites or communicate with people that she doesn’t know.
2. Set internet boundaries.
Set boundaries for your child’s use of the internet and stick to them. For instance, is your child allowed to use Google? Is she restricted to certain websites when conducting research for school? Is she allowed to use Facebook? Place a list of the internet rules next to the computer. Having clear expectations will help keep your child safe.
3. Use filtering software to limit websites your child can visit.
One of the simplest ways to keep your child from visiting inappropriate sites is to invest in filtering software. This software can tell you which sites your child has visited and block inappropriate ones. While these programs are not a substitute for parental supervision, they are a powerful tool to help you monitor your child’s online activity. Always tell your child if you are using a program to track her online activity. Remind your child that you are not spying on her, but rather protecting her.
4. Keep on the lookout for online bullying.
Bullying is becoming an increasing problem online. Ask your child regularly if she is being bullied at school or online. Look for signs of stress in your child. Tell your child of your own experiences with bullying and be sure to maintain open communication so that your child feels comfortable coming to you if she encounters bullying online. Also consider the possibility of your child being a bully herself. Explain why it is not acceptable to bully other children online or face to face.
5. Explain online predators.
Because a lot of children are naturally trusting, it is important to tell your child that people she meets online are not always the people they pretend to be. Show your child how easy it is to pretend to be someone else online.Image Credit: cyberuly, Flickr