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Keeping Your Kids Safe Online

Posted by cfeehan on May 26, 2015

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Every parent has heard the horror stories, but the internet doesn’t need to be a scary place if you know how to block, restrict, and kid-proof your way through it. Thanks to advances in technology, protecting your children on the internet – including monitoring their activity online and restricting access to certain websites – is becoming much easier to do. This checklist will provide you with a few tips for watching over your child’s internet usage, setting rules online, advice on how to talk to them about difficult subjects, potential warning signs that your child may be keeping secrets about their activity online, and some kid-friendly websites and search engines.

Monitor internet usage:

  • Position your computer in a central location in the home
  • Remove or disable your computer’s webcam
  • Check your child’s browser history every couple of days

Set and Follow Rules:

  • Establish strict rules for your children to follow online. For example, tell them never to give anyone their address, phone number, full name, or send pictures of themselves
  • Decide which activities and websites are appropriate and discuss them with your children
  • Tell your kids not to share their passwords with anyone but you
  • Warn your kids not to open emails from anyone they don’t know
  • Teach your children to avoid clicking links because of potential viruses

Talk openly about the internet:

  • Be up-front and honest about what happens on the internet
  • Let your kids know that everything they share can be seen by anyone in the world
  • Talk to them about the dangers of strangers online
  • Make sure your children know that they should tell you right away if they ever see anything online that makes them uncomfortable, and assure them that you won’t overreact or get mad at them

Warning signs

Your child may be keeping potentially harmful secrets about their online activity if he or she:

  • Constantly clears their browser history
  • Closes programs every time you walk into the room
  • Becomes hesitant to tell you about what they’re doing online
  • Starts receiving phone calls or emails from people you haven’t heard of before
  • Starts talking about friends you’ve never heard of before

Solutions – Child-friendly websites, search engines and tools:

Remember that this is just a beginner’s guide to internet safety for your children. Trust your instincts – if something doesn’t feel right about your child’s online activity, it probably isn’t. Open and honest communication is key.

Safe surfing, fellow families!