As much as I’d love to keep my kids off the internet completely, it’s just not feasible.
Between online classes, video chats with grandma, and playing online video games with friends, kids spend a lot more time online than many of us are probably willing to admit.
However, that doesn’t mean that we should just let them hang out online without any supervision or restrictions.
Here are some simple tips to keep your kids safe online.
By limiting your child’s time online, you decrease the chances of them stumbling upon things they shouldn’t. It also makes it much easier to monitor their online activities.
Decide upfront how much screen time they are allowed to have each day. Make sure you talk to your child about this time limit, and be consistent about it. It’s much easier to enforce screen time limits if you don’t ever bend the rules.
Check Their History
Make it a habit to regularly check your child’s online history. Don’t forget to check across all of their devices: computers, cell phones, iPads, and other tablets.
If you discover that the history has been erased or set to private, don’t ignore it. Casually ask your child about it.
Know All of Their Passwords
Having access to their accounts is incredibly important. It means being able to see what they can see, plus having the ability to see what they post and any messages they might receive.
Be upfront with your child about needing login information. On top of security reasons, it also means that your child won’t lose access to accounts if they manage to forget a password.
Consider Monitoring Software
If your child spends a lot of time online, like for instance, if they do distance learning or play games with friends, you might want to consider using monitoring software. It helps you monitor what sites they visit and other activities online.
In a perfect world, we would be able to stand over them and supervise them while online. However, that’s not always possible. Monitoring software can be a great option to take some of the worries out of letting your child use the internet when you can’t watch them directly all of the time.
Prepare for the Worst
We’re all hoping that our kids won’t accidentally come across something objectionable, but you should still prepare for the worst — just in case. Even with every safety precaution in place, it’s still possible.
First, know that if something comes up, it’s not your fault, or your kid’s fault. Unfortunately, there are bad and inappropriate things on the internet.
However, you should be prepared to talk with your child about it, and what they should do if it happens again.