The Internet is a dangerous place for children, but it’s also the direction in which technology and the world as we know it are going.
So, how do parents keep their kids safe online in the Internet age?
Luckily there are a few forms of online parental defense as well as some good tips that will ensure your kids can surf the web without getting into dangerous waters.
Online Safety Programs
According to The Journal of Adolescent Health, nearly 85% of all online sex crimes against minors were due to information gained on social media sites. And on top of that, 1 and 7 kids that use the Internet on a regular basis receive sexual solicitations.
With statistics like that, safety programs should be installed on every computer in the household. In terms of parental control, AVG Family and Bsecure Online both limit online gaming, monitor chat rooms and instant messaging, and can even alert parents when conversational keywords are messaged.
McAfee Family Protection 2.0 has all the benefits of the parental control programs above, but as an added feature, the parental control dashboard is accessible from any computer. This means parents can monitor their kids’ online activities even while they’re at work.
As for mobile safety programs, Norton Online Family To Go allows parents to limit smartphone browser usage to specific sites. And, for parents that really want to play it safe, CellSafety 2.0 will actually block texting while teens are behind the wheel.
Online Safety Tips
Parental control programs are a great way to keep your kids safe while on the web, but by following the tips below, you’ll truly be practicing what you preach in terms of online protection:
Family Passwords – If your child wants to join a social media site or chat room, make sure it’s age appropriate and request the password and any additional login information. Every adult in the house should have this information on hand.
Put the Computer in the Spotlight – A great way to monitor your children’s online activity without making it seem like you’re peering over their shoulder is by placing the computer in a central location. Family rooms, living rooms, and kitchens are all great options and will keep your children from wandering to mature websites.
Ditch the Webcam – Sure, webcams are great for communicating with friends and family, but kids and webcams left unsupervised isn’t a good idea. Try disabling the webcam when the computer is being used by your children or get rid of it all together.
Discuss the Rules – One of the most important steps parents can take in ensuring their children are safe online is by setting forth specific rules with very real consequences. Children should have clear guidelines to follow when surfing the web so they know when they’ve crossed a digital line.
Look for Warning Signs – Browser history that is constantly cleared and windows that are quickly shut when parents walk into the room are all warning signs that kids might be on adult sites. Look for these signs and follow through with the proper punishment if your children are mistreating their online privilege.
Rest assured that by following the tips above and also investing in the right parental control programs, your children will be safe from any online threat.
About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics for various sites including MediaShower.com.