A Parent’s Guide to Improving Internet Safety for Kids

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For many parents, the internet can be a real concern. Keeping their kids safe from predators and keeping their computers safe from malware can seem like a full-time job.

How should parents teach internet safety for kids? What do they and their kids need to know?

In this guide, we’ll take a look at the top internet safety tips for kids that can help them stay safe online. Ready to get started and learn how to keep your children safe? Read on!

Teach Your Children What They Should and Shouldn’t Talk About Online

One of the most important things that you need to tell your children about is the public nature of the internet. They should know that when they say something online, anyone could be reading it.

This may not sound like a big deal to them at first so you should tell them that people online should only know certain things about them. For instance, they should never give out their full name, address, phone number, or any other personal information.

Kids should also know not to post a photo of themself online, except for in very specific circumstances where you have allowed it, such as in a family Facebook group.

Speaking to Strangers

Chatting to people online is one of the biggest boons that come with the internet. In the right context, speaking to people could result in new friends, valuable information, and new perspectives on life.

However, you never know who you are talking to online, so you need to set certain ground rules for your kids.

For instance, they should never talk to someone they don’t know without parental supervision. This applies to social media, forums, and chatrooms.

Teach them what is appropriate and inappropriate conversation. This is a difficult conversation but it’s one that you need to have with them so that they can recognize inappropriate chats. If someone says or does something that makes them uncomfortable, make sure that they tell you right away.

Bullying

Sadly, as well as being a place full of fun and open communication, the internet can also play host to bullies. According to recent data, over a third of young people have experienced cyberbullying at some point.

If your child is being bullied online, they should tell you. Ensure that you’ve built up a level of trust between you and your child so that they feel comfortable doing so.

We would also recommend that you teach your children not to respond to hurtful or bullying messages and to block the people sending them.

Teach Them Good Email Security

If your children have an email, they need to know about phishing. There are no exceptions to this. Phishing can target anyone at any time.

If your child gets an email from someone they don’t know, they shouldn’t open it. If they get an email that asks them for their personal information, they should tell you about it.

If an email has an attachment, they shouldn’t open it without you being there. Watch for potential virus vectors and ensure that any attachments come from legitimate sources before you open them.

Block Certain Websites

We would recommend that you learn how to block websites on Google Chrome or whichever web browser you use. Blocking websites is easy and free, which means that you may not need to invest in filter software.

So which websites should you block? Some, like adult sites, are obvious, but we would also recommend blocking any websites that contain violent content and you could go further if you like.

You can find master lists of websites to block online, which makes your job far easier. If you’re on Windows, you could consider editing your HOSTS file too, in case your children get enterprising and try to find new ways to forbidden sites.

Supervise Your Children

When your younger children are exploring the internet, they should do it with your help. Supervising your children doesn’t mean telling them what to do, on the contrary. Let them have fun but if something concerns you, step in.

You can supervise teens but there’s a reason they came up with the acronym “pwoms” or “parents watching over my shoulder.” Teens need a little more privacy than you’d give younger children.

However, if something online concerns them, they should feel empowered to come to you about it. You should also teach them about certain ground rules online as a teen: for instance, don’t go onto random video chatting sites like Omegle or Chatroulette.

Empower Your Children

Empowering your children is vital for safe and happy internet use. If someone is making them feel uncomfortable, they should tell you, but what if you aren’t around?

Most websites now have report tools that let you report a profile. Tell your children about them and tell them to use them whenever they feel uncomfortable, no matter how uncomfortable they feel.

You should also tell them about blocking features, so that they can block someone and move on from the conversation if necessary.

Internet Safety for Kids Is Essential

As a parent, internet safety for kids can sometimes feel like an overwhelming topic. However, if you take the time to tell them what they need to know and to use the parental controls that are baked into web browsers and routers, internet safety doesn’t need to be difficult.

If you’ve enjoyed this article and would like to read other interesting and informative ones like it, check out the rest of our blog!

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