Our children are spending a lot more time online today. Whether remote learning for school, chatting with friends on Zoom, or simply passing the time while many things remain closed, screen time has substantially increased.
This means that it’s much more important to make sure your kids are safe from the many hazards that exist online, from predators to scammers and everything else. Here are some steps you can take to safeguard your kids:
- Education and empower your children. One of the first steps to take is empower your
children. They can be active participants in ensuring their own safety. There are creative ways
you can teach your children how to be safe, such as these online games and videos provided by
the FBI. “Remind your kids never to give out personal information, such as name, home address,
or telephone number, to anyone they don’t know through email, Twitter, Facebook, or in online
chat rooms or bulletin boards,” the U.S. Department of Education says.
- Parental control software. Of course, it often makes sense to also have some software in
place to block inappropriate content or monitor your children’s online activity, especially if they
are younger. This website has a rundown of four of the best software programs available. Also,
all of the major internet browsers—Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, and Google
Chrome—have add-ons that will give you some blocking features. For details, see this site.
- Set family rules. There are also a number of low-tech things you can do, such as set basic
family rules about how long your children can be online and where they can do it. It doesn’t just
have to be about rule-making though. One strategy is to browse online with your children, to
model safe browsing practices. See here for additional tips and guidelines.
We all know how the internet can be a breeding ground for inappropriate content and a
destination for all kinds of online predators and scammers. Fortunately, there is no shortage of
protective measures and steps you can take. We hope the above resources help to put your mind
at ease about having child’s online presence.