Parents would do anything to protect their children, but the internet has given them a whole new challenge to deal with. Kids spend hours online each day, during which they’re exposed to many dangers.
Parents need to be actively involved in their child’s online activity, know the apps they use, educate them about the dangers of the internet, and utilize parental control features to prevent exposure to inappropriate content.
Here are 6 ways parents can keep their kids safe online:
Educate Your Kids About Online Dangers
Kids of all ages have access to the internet, and the younger they are, the more naive and impressionable they are. Treat the internet like you would when letting your kids go outside alone for the first time.
Talk to them about all the dangers that are out there, like:
- Talking to strangers
- Revealing personal information
- Downloading malicious apps or files, and more.
This will prompt your kids to be more careful in their online activity and encourage them to talk to you whenever they encounter some of the red flags you taught them.
Encrypt Your Child’s Device
No matter how hard you try, kids will be kids, and they will often do the opposite of what you tell them. They are bound to click on malicious links or download malicious software (malware), among other things.
Since preventing this is almost impossible, the next best thing you can do is encrypt your child’s device. Malware can quickly spread through unencrypted data and possibly reveal sensitive information about you or your kids. To stay protected, encrypt all sensitive data with a password and back it up on a secure cloud-storage service.
Monitor Apps and Websites
Even if you’re not a strict parent, you have to take control of your kid’s online activity, at least while they’re very young.
At the very least, you should have an idea of all the apps and websites they’re visiting. This might be hard for some parents as they’ll feel like they’re invading their kids’ privacy, but remember that you’re doing it for their own good. The easiest way to monitor your kid’s activity is through parental control apps.
To make it fun, you could schedule a weekly phone check-up with your kid where you let them show you the apps and websites they’ve been using. This won’t put pressure on your kids, knowing that you’re constantly monitoring them, yet you’ll still know what they’re up to when they’re online.
Know Who Your Kid’s Online Friends Are
Kids are slowly becoming more present on social media. Even if it’s not social media, there are still messaging apps like Discord where your kids can meet and communicate with people from around the world.
It would be best to completely block these apps when your kids are too young. Once they get a bit older, they can install them, but you should still be proactive about knowing who they follow and interact with.
Utilize Privacy and Parental Control Settings
Innocent web-browser searches can lead to not-so-innocent results. With the way kids like to click on everything that seems new and interesting, they can easily find themselves on a website with inappropriate content.
To prevent that, web browsers, social media sites, and gaming consoles have developed parental control settings that let you block inappropriate content from a particular user. Before you let your kids roam the internet freely, enable all of these settings to ensure they don’t accidentally end up in the wrong place.
Additionally, you should tweak the privacy settings on the device your kids are using, and:
- Disable location sharing
- Make social media profiles private
- Turn off notifications and pop-ups, etc.
Only Allow Age-Appropriate Content
Children as young as six were heard discussing the popular Korean drama ‘Squid Game’ in late 2021. Some were even seen replicating what they saw in the violent show on playgrounds. This is a dangerous behavior that could be avoided by limiting your kids’ access to age-inappropriate content.
Whether it’s video games, movies, or TV shows, only allow your kids to see or engage with content that’s appropriate for their age.
Since the internet is constantly changing, you have to stay on top of new trends and ensure your children are safe from the latest dangers that swarm the internet. Utilize the advice in this article to implement strategies to ensure your kid remains safe online.
Additionally, keep in mind that every child is different, and they might require different levels of care when it comes to their online activity. Some kids may need you to be more strict, while others can learn good habits quickly. Whatever the case may be, always be on the lookout for suspicious activity on their devices or changes in behavior.