Knowing how to protect your children online is half the battle when it comes to kids safety on the web.
There are so many different ways for a young child to get in trouble on the Internet that protecting their child’s web time seems a daunting task to many parents. But there are a few small steps parents can take to help keep their kids safe on the web
Search engine giant Google offers a whole suite of features to help parents tailor their child’s online experience and insure that they never venture into areas of the Internet where they shouldn’t be. Signing your child up for a Gmail account through its Family Link service is one awesome way to monitor your child’s web behavior.
While Google is by far the largest search engine on the web, other web services like Bing and Yahoo search also follow the same general principles when it comes to web privacy and safety. But parents should keep in mind that if they haven’t tailored the settings of those search engines to be kid friendly, their child could visit somewhere they shouldn’t. It is best to limit your search engine to one and then perhaps block the others. There are also browser level settings parents should use as well.
The most important thing is that parents discuss online safety with their children prior to letting them loose on the web. This means covering topics like data phishing, identity theft, and predatory online behavior.
The next step parents should take to help keep their children safe on the web is to teach them how to use it in the first place. Establishing good best practices early on will help your child avoid the worst that is out there.
Another step that is important but could be difficult for some parents is to discuss the types of websites out there and why they may be dangerous to visit. This requires a level of honesty between the parent and the child that some parents may not want to have.
If you teach your kids good online habits like how to avoid malware and the importance of having strong passwords, you will cover about 80% of the dangers out there. Make sure they understand why they should never share their account password with anyone except for you or a trusted guardian.
As far as social media accounts are concerned, some platforms don’t allow young children so that argument is solved quite quickly. For those parents of children old enough to have such accounts, you will need to apply these same above rules to those platforms as well. You will need to be even more vigilant because social media platforms often allow people to circumvent even the best protections on the web.
Last, keep the conversation fresh with your child, checking in on her every once in a while to see how things are going. Staying involved is how you best protect your children online and in life. Limiting their search engine capabilities and their online websites is only a part of the battle.