The internet can be a wonderful thing, but it can also be dangerous. From identity theft to cyber-bullying, people use the internet to prey on unsuspecting users. Use these tips to teach your child how to safely surf the web.
Avoiding dangerous websites
There are lots of websites with inappropriate content or viruses that can infect your computer. Talk to your kids about how to safely navigate websites. For example, show them how to choose their web searches carefully. Demonstrate what dangerous websites might look like, and how to avoid them. You might consider using an internet filter as well. Internet filters can block inappropriate or dangerous websites, and record search history. There are lots of different web blockers or filters to choose from.
Protecting sensitive information
Giving out personal information can be a huge problem for kids and teens. Address with your child the types of information they shouldn’t release online. This includes passwords, addresses, phone numbers, or location. Any details about them and their personal lives can be dangerous in the wrong hands. Also, make them aware of the dangers of online chatting with strangers. Social media sites, chat rooms, and messaging apps can be especially dangerous. Encourage them to block anyone they don’t know who seems suspicious.
Establishing guidelines about internet usage can help increase your child’s safety and productivity. Even simple things, such as keeping the computer in an open room, can prevent dangerous surfing. Specific guidelines based on age can be helpful as well. Elementary-aged children will need different rules and freedoms than high-schoolers. For an 11-13 year-old child, ask for any social media passwords they may have. You can also set time limits for their computer use.
In the end, the most important Internet safety tool is communication. Keep up the conversation with your children about their online activities. Establishing trust with them will go a long way when they do encounter any tough scenarios.