As more and more of the population rely on the internet for shopping, information, communication and much more, the question of how to stay safe online becomes increasingly important. Children nowadays are the first generation growing up in a truly digital age. The internet is everywhere in a way that it has never been previously, via smartphones, tablets, games consoles, and of course computers.
In the past, safety advice for kids mainly focused on stranger danger and crossing the road safely; however, now there’s a whole new subject for parents to cover; how to stay safe online.
Communication is Key
Kids don’t automatically grow up knowing that the internet can be a dangerous place; this is something that parents need to discuss with them. As well as ensuring that kids are aware of the apparent dangers of being online, making kids aware that not everything they see and read online is true is vitally important.
Being around your child is a simple way to keep them safe when using the internet. By being next to them, you will know precisely what they are searching for and will know that they are staying safe.
Make them Savvy
Teaching kids a little about computer viruses, malware, and cyber attacks can prepare them to make good decisions when faced with situations surrounding online crime. This will help to ensure that they don’t fall foul of scams encouraging them to share information such as credit card details.
Explaining to kids not to fiddle with the computer by trying to show hidden files, or in the worst-case scenario deleting essential software from the computer, such as antivirus protection, will also help to keep your computer protected from your curious kids unwittingly making it vulnerable.
Let kids know that their passwords are important and shouldn’t be shared with others. Even if the programs that are used by your child don’t contain sensitive information that needs to be protected, teaching kids to memorize passwords and not to share them is an excellent habit to get into.
Your internet provider should allow you to set parental controls to prevent your kids from accessing sites that you don’t want them to. There are usually different levels of parental control available so that you can personalize your level of control as appropriate to your child’s age. Don’t forget to check from time to time to ensure that the parental controls are still in place and haven’t been amended.
Stay in Control
During the busyness of everyday family life, it is easy to lose track of what your kids are looking at online. However, the easiest way to keep your kids online is by supervising them, limiting the time they spend online and talking to them about how the internet is a useful tool, but also comes with risks. Keeping an eye on their internet usage, the sites that they are visiting and who they are talking to is crucial to keep them safe online.