Protecting Your Child Online: Some Useful Tips

The Internet can be a dangerous place for your children if they aren’t prepared.   Most kids don’t have the experience or judgment to recognize online danger, leaving them vulnerable to both accidental and deliberate assaults on their innocence and worse.

protect your children onlineProbably the most important thing you can teach your child about online safety is to never reveal personal information. Not their name, address or phone number.

Not their school, their team, their activities.  Nothing that could be used to identify your child…because predators can be very creative.

Keeping personal information private not only means from queries from individuals, but also on forms such as surveys and signup forms. Indeed, your child shouldn’t sign up for anything online without your knowledge and permission.

Children should also understand they must not arrange to meet or talk to any online friend in person, no matter how well they think they “know” them.  Certainly not all friends made over the Internet are bad people.  Not even close.  But parental involvement when meeting strangers is something your child should not just expect, but encourage.

Parents should consider restricting Internet access to computers located only in public areas, such as the family room.  They could still have non-Internet-accessible computers in their rooms for games or schoolwork.  But restricting Internet access to public areas only allows you, the parent, to keep an eye on your child’s surfing. 

While you hope not to have to use them, learn how the parental controls on your computer work.  These will allow you to check on your kid’s emails as well as the websites they’ve visited.  (If necessary, you can always consider installing more feature-filled filtering software.) 

If you establish a few simple ground rules, such as the hours your children can be online and the type of websites they can visit – and involving your children in this process makes them far more likely to obey the rules – you will have gone a long way toward protecting your child online.

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