Tips for Keeping Kids Safe Online
Kids are turning to the internet for everything from hanging out with friends to shopping, which makes it harder for parents to keep track of their online activities. Fortunately, there are many options for controlling what your kids see on their computers, laptops, and mobile devices. If you aren’t already using one, start today and talk to your kids about it.
Online Safety: Everyday Tips
- If your child has mobile internet access, it will be more difficult to monitor and control his or her internet use.
- Content blockers and filters are great tools to use with younger kids. They allow you more control over where they go and what they do online. A content blocker blocks sites with explicit material or limits a child’s search to a predetermined set of sites. A content filter scans sites and images and blocks those that contain certain words, key phrases, or content.
- Consider tracking software for older teenagers. This software enables you to see which sites your children have visited, tracking their path online. This tool gives young people more freedom to explore the Internet, but it also allows you to verify that they are using the internet responsibly. Let your teenagers know that you trust them, but that you will be periodically verifying that they are visiting appropriate sites online.
- Even if you use content blockers, filters, and trackers, know that a lot of kids figure out ways to get around these, so it’s important to remain vigilant.
- Remember that not all adult sites post an industry rating that can be identified by blocker, filter, or tracker software. That’s why it’s important to talk to your kids about what to do when something inappropriate or scary pops up.
- Nothing can replace involvement and supervision by adults. Keep monitoring how your kids use the internet on a regular basis without getting into the role of internet traffic cop.
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Related Blog Posts
• Use Internet "incidents" as an opportunity to communicate, not as a platform for endless lectures.
• Talk to your kids about your feelings about pornography.
• Revisit family rules about the Internet—which sites are okay, and which are not.
• A lot of young people are simply curious, so do not let websites provide the only answers to their questions. Let them know that they can talk to you.
• Expect some kid or teenage exploration. Don't be surprised if your child has deliberately or accidentally seen porn online.
*More tips like these are available in the Through U family education kit from MediaWise, a product of the National Institute on Media and the Family.