The only dangers that parents worried about in the past were dangers in the surrounding physical environment. They taught children not to talk to strangers, identified things that were potentially hazardous, to avoid people who offered them gifts and to turn to police officers or firefighters when they worried about their safety. Parents today still need to warn their children about those dangers, but they must also deal with the dangers that reach kids over the vast space of information and connectivity known as the Internet. As a parent or an educator, you only want what is best for the kids in your life, and you can help those children stay safe online in a few ways.
Install Parental Blocks
Parental blocks let you control what your kids see and do online. Once you install the software, you can limit the things your child searches for or what pages your child views. Many schools and libraries use this type of software to stop users from gaining access to gaming websites and social networking websites, but you can also block your child from looking at pages with adult themes and pages that contain information you don’t want your child watching or reading.
Check Your Children’s History
Kids today are often more computer savvy than their own parents and educators having grown up in this technology-driven society, so simply checking your browser history won’t give you an accurate view of what your child searches for online. Older kids may know how to delete the history from a computer, making it difficult for parents and teachers to know what the kids are doing online. You can download and install software that restores that deleted history to show you everything your child does. You can even install keylogging software that records every stroke a user makes and every page a user visits. This lets you know exactly what your child talks about and does online when you’re not around.
Become an Online Friend
With so many children now using Facebook and other social networking sites, it’s important that parents and educators monitor what those children do. Though Facebook requires that users be at least 13, younger children can create a page by simply lying about their age. Becoming an online friend of your child helps you see what happens online. You’ll know exactly who is on that child’s friends list, what games your child plays and the pictures your child uploads. You can determine if your child’s friends are suitable people or if your child speaks to potential predators. These sites are also breeding grounds for online bullying by peers, so it is important to talk to your child about the dangers of online bullying so they know this type of behavior isn’t an online joke.
Talk to Them About Password Protection
Did you know that your password can make it easy for someone to steal your identity? There’s a reason why most credit card companies and banks now require a password that contains a series of letters, numbers and symbols. These passwords are harder for others to hack or learn. Sit down and talk with your children about the importance of keeping their passwords private. Explain what can happen if someone gains their passwords. Those predators can upload adult photos, target their friends and essentially take over your child’s identity.
Instill a Sense of Privacy in Your Children
As more people turned to the Internet, the sense of privacy that they once had completely disappeared. Go online right now, do a simple search for your first name and you might be surprised at what you find. With a credit card or debit card, you can access websites that list all of your private information in one simple spot. People can find out your age, birthday, address and even your cell phone number. Show your kids how fast you can find information about them just based off their social networking pages. Most children don’t think twice about posting about where they are at any moment or sharing photos of themselves on vacation. Your kids need to understand that they should keep their information private.
Children today face potential dangers both online and off, but talking to your kids will help them learn more about those dangers. Help your children understand why they need to remain private and watch what they say and do as well as where they go online.