Keeping Your Kids Safe Online

Posted by Shawn Tipping on

When kids get to the age of being able to switch on and use a computer on their own, we parents need to start thinking about making sure they are safe online. It's all too easy for kids to stray onto inappropriate websites even after doing a seemingly harmless search.

The first challenge for a lot of parents is in being aware of the dangers. These are many and varied - everything from pornography to meeting strangers online in forums, chat rooms and through spam email. Sometimes these dangers can come from innocent use of the internet - for example, search engines, instant messaging or unscrupulous sites with no decent privacy policy.

It's a good idea to follow a simple set of guidelines when your kids are using the computer, especially when they're online. The list below isn't meant to be exhaustive, but it's a good starting point.

1) Keep the computer in a public room - not hidden away in kids bedrooms. That way you can see what they're doing.
2) Install an internet content filter ѕuсh аѕ Content Protect. This can help you prevent your children from coming into contact with іn appropriate  content.
3) Set up a separate login for your children (or one for each), configuring security settings for your content filter for each login so it is appropriate to their age.
4) Talk to your kids about the risks and dangers online. Make them aware of how to stay safe online. Here are a few golden rules that you can talk through with them.

  • They should never fill in forms with any personal information without your permission. They should definitely not give out their name, address, telephone numbers, school or anything that could identify them.
  • Explain that before giving their email address to any website, they should check with you first that the site has an appropriate privacy policy.
  • They shouldn't tell anyone their passwords.
  • They should never send their photo to anyone, or upload it to a website without your knowledge.
  • You should encourage them to tell you if they receive any strange messages or if they come across any websites that display information of images that make them feel uncomfortable.
  • Explain to them that they shouldn't always believe what they read online. Just like the real world, sometimes things aren't what they seem.
  • Tell them not to post messages on bulletin boards without checking with you first.
  • Encourage them not to download or install any software without you being there to help them.
  • Make sure you have good (and up-to date!) virus protection too to ensure that if they do try and install anything it is scanned for viruses first.
The internet is a fantastic source of information and can be great for kids if used in the right way. With sensible precautions your kids can make the most of it, in a safe environment.
There are a number of great resources online that will help you ensure your kids can surf safely. A couple you mіght like to visit are www.safekids.com and www.getnetwise.org.




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