All parents keep their kids safe when they are going out – using a helmet while skateboarding or cycling, applying sunscreen when going out in the sun, being careful while crossing the road etc. But what should the parents do to keep kids safe online from inappropriate content, cyberbullies, malware, identity theft and other online threats?
As a matter of fact, 1 in 5 children who uses the internet has seen unwanted pornography. Around 60% teenagers have received an email or instant message from a stranger (half have replied). We have jotted down a few suggestions, which can help you keep your kids safe online.
1. Talk freely with kids about their online activities
Parents should teach their children about good online behaviour to ensure kids safety. Talk to your child about which websites, apps and games they use while online. Make a list of the same and discuss the relevance of using them. Discuss with your child about the dangers of the internet in advance. Prevention is always better than cure.
Tell them about what they can post online and what they cannot as the information stays online for long and can affect their reputation.
2. Place computers in a common area of the house
It is important to keep kids safe from the dark side of the internet. In order to do so, the computer should be kept in a place where the child using the internet can be supervised easily.
Online kids safety can be achieved by making sure the screen of the computer is not facing the wall. Do not allow any computer in the kids room. The mere presence of a parent who may or may not be looking over the child’s shoulder is enough to keep the child disciplined and practice safe online activities.
3. Set Internet usage timings
Discuss with the child and set a reasonable time for using the internet to ensure kids safety. Also, keep kids safe online by setting rules for what the child can and cannot do while browsing the internet. The Australian Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines recommend children between the age of five and 17 should have no more than two hours of screen time a day.
Online kids safety can be achieved by making sure you switch off the home wifi when the child’s internet usage timings are over. Try keeping some days ‘screen-free’ for the child to enjoy outdoor or other entertainment activities.
4. Teach children about keeping personal information private
Encourage your child to use privacy settings while using the internet to keep kids safe. Teach them to be selective while sharing information on the social media platform. They must be aware of the risk of personal information or images being made public once they post it.
Keep kids safe online by making them understand that sharing of personal information like name, school name, phone number, home address, email or photo can be dangerous. Ask them to check with you or any trusted adult before posting any photo online.
5. Know your child’s online friends
If possible, forbid your child to chat online or allow them to chat online only on the condition that you will monitor their chats. Tell them that what people tell online is not always true.
Discuss and make a list of their online friends and supervise their online chats randomly to ensure kids safety.
6. Use Parental Controls
It is necessary to know how to use the parental controls/search restrictions offered by web browsers, internet service providers and devices. Ask your kids to use SafeSearchEngine.com to ensure kids safety. This search engine filters out and blocks any inappropriate adult, sexual and potentially offensive content from search results. By turning on safe search on Google Chrome, you can search in safe mode from Google Chrome URL tab box itself.
In some cases, the parental controls are built right into the cable modem/router supplied as a part of your cable subscription. Parental controls can help prevent your child from seeing and accessing most violent/sexual material. See https://www.internetmatters.org/parental-controls/.
You can add Safe Search Engine extension to your browser to keep your kids safe from the inappropriate content on search.
Don’t forget to share among your friends.
Happy Safe Searching!