Online safety for kids has become a challenge in this digital age, when every person across all age groups has access to digital devices (mobile phones, laptops, computers, Ipads etc) that are connected to the internet, and seeks every single piece of information via the internet. There is no doubt that the internet provides us enormous information but is full of unwanted and inappropriate content as well.
Children are unaware of the potential dangers lurking behind the digital space. They can be exposed to inappropriate adult content, scams, identity theft or physical harm if they don’t use precautions while browsing the web.
That’s why there is a growing need to provide online safety tips to kids for practicing safe internet browsing.
Following are the top 10 online safety tips for kids to follow in order to avoid getting into trouble:
1. Using Safe Search Engine
With internet access, vast amounts of information can be browsed using different search engines. Many of these search engines do not provide child-friendly search results.
The question here is –
Is the search engine that you or your kids are using providing you safe search results?
Is the search engine providing you the information that you wish should have been filtered out from the search results, and is not suitable for kids?
Different search engines provide your kids different experiences in terms of the search results they show. But not every experience is good, especially, if a child is using the internet. Though most of the search engines will satisfy the kids’ query but they might also leave them with a lot of unwanted and inappropriate content, if unsafe queries are searched, which is not good and should not be seen by them. Don’t you want your kids to use a search engine which filters all the inappropriate unwanted adult information that can disturb the impressionable minds of children?
Usage of a child-friendly safe search engine like SafeSearchEngine.com for browsing the the internet should be advised. It helps in vetting the web content such as websites, words, images and videos. It provides children with all the information online but also filters out search results that might not be appropriate for them. It safeguards children from inappropriate adult, sexual and potentially offensive content.
2. Choosing Strong Passwords
It is important to use passwords that are complex. It should be a combination of lower and uppercase letters, alphanumeric characters and numbers. Passwords are meant to be kept secret and not to be shared with anyone. Strong passwords are very important for online safety for kids.
3. Keeping Privacy intact
The sharing of information online should be done carefully. Personal information – like phone number, address, photo, name and location of school should not be shared at all. This is highly essential for online safety for children.
4. Double checking before posting/commenting
For online safety for kids, it is important to be mindful before they post anything online as it might stay on the web forever. It can be really embarrassing as any indecent comment or photo sent online can come back later to haunt.
5. Thinking before clicking
One thoughtless click can expose the device to malware. Computer viruses are increasing day by day. At present, there are more than 100,000 known computer viruses. They can invade the computer if any inappropriate link is clicked or any untrustworthy file is downloaded. It is important to scan every file before downloading it for any potential threat. For internet safety of children, an updated antivirus software should be installed in every device with which the internet is being accessed. Any email attachment, coming from an unknown source, if opened, can put privacy at serious risk.
6. Staying away from the strangers
It is important to avoid chatting with strangers online. Not every person online is telling the truth about them. For kids’ online safety, it is advisable to inform parents or any trusted adult if someone is bullying or forcing them to meet or asking to send private information / photos. In any circumstances, meeting a stranger should be completely avoided.
7. Openly discussing online experience and limiting online time
An honest open conversation should be encouraged at home about which sites and apps are being frequently used by children during their online time. There might be some sites e.g. adult content or gaming sites etc which show ads or pop-ups about viruses or scams that can be dangerous. The more the time spent online, the greater the chances are of getting caught by potential dangers. So, it is better to limit internet browsing time for online safety for kids.
8. Keeping computers and other devices for accessing internet in a common area
It is never a good idea for children to access the internet in the privacy of their bedroom. It takes away the parental supervision which is important for them. Also, for children younger than 13 years of age, it is advisable not to open a social media account for online safety for kids. Their maturity level needs to come to a certain mark before they can be allowed access to social media.
9. Rules are the same – Online and Offline
Every parent prepares their child for the real world by making some rules for them. These rules are meant to discipline them in real life e.g. do not talk to strangers, switch off the tv in half an hour etc. Many such rules are the same that can be followed in the virtual world. So, it is important to keep in mind that rules for the real and virtual world are not that different. And, if these rules are followed a child can be safe in the virtual world too. Obeying these rules are essential for kids’ internet safety.
10. Calling for help when in danger
For online safety of kids, in case of any compromise to privacy or device hacking it is advisable to call for help. The website should be closed and the system should be turned off. Leave the website. In order to resolve the issue, support should be sought from parents, any trusted adult or Police helpline.
Happy Safe Searching!
Don’t forget to share among your friends.