You don’t have to be an expert in digital technology to realize that protecting children online is one of the most important things that you can do. As a parent, you’re going to face many things throughout the lives of your children that mean that you have to make big decisions about the features, but the Internet is a very vast place, which means that you need to be able to be on top of the way that they use it. Communication is one of the biggest things that you need in your family to ensure that you can protect your children, because if you don’t know their online habits you’re not going to be able to protect them at all.
From understanding how to change IP address on Mac in case one of your children is being online stalked or bullied, to understanding what it means to educate your children on their online habits, you need to do all that you can to protect them. We’ve got a few suggestions below how you can protect your kids online.
- Always keep a copy of their passwords. Your children need to have their privacy, absolutely, but when they are under the age of 16 an hour on the Internet, you also need to have access to their accounts in case something goes wrong. Let’s just say you need to be able to access your child’s email or social media pages due to bullying, or your child goes missing. If you are locked out of social media accounts, you won’t be able to find out what was going on. It’s not about spying on your children. In fact, password sharing is a huge huge indicator of trust. However, you need to be able to have that one eye on things to ensure that nothing is going wrong in your child’s life when you can’t see it, only ever use their password with permission.
- Install parental control apps. Not only can you install parental control on Internet websites, you can also use apps like Life 360 to be able to monitor their usage and determine whether they should be on the Internet at a certain time of day. The Internet can expose your children to violence, sex and other inappropriate subjects for that age. It doesn’t take much to be able to log into that information and find it, and no parent wants a child exposed to those things too early. Parental controls will really make a difference. Support the curiosity of your child, but keep them safe while they explore.
- Refuse screen time in bedrooms. Your child does not need to take the iPad to the bedroom, because when technology is out of your ear or eyeshot, you’re going to find it very difficult to keep an eye on what’s happening online. Have a specified location in your home for your children to use their computers or other devices where you can’t get to see the screens or hear what they are doing. Don’t allow them to go into the rooms and close the door and have full access to the Internet, because consider how you have full access to the Internet. Would you want your child exposed to it? Of course not.
- Discuss the rules and the consequences. If your children are able to understand rules, then you need to set some boundaries about Internet usage and discuss it with them. This is not a dictatorship, and you’re not demanding that they hand over their devices. In fact, you are both working together to put boundaries in place that keep you safe. You should then discuss the consequences of breaking those boundaries. While you wouldn’t want them to have to lose their tablets, they may lose their access to the Internet or have it restricted if they can’t stick to the rules. Rather than forcing these, you should be talking about them together and agreeing on them based on mutual trust. Trusting your children and your children trusting you are so important in our family.
- Work with time limits. Often, children just need to have a time limit rather than a full restriction of Internet use. An hour or so per day on tablets or on iPads can help them to connect with their friends and feel like they are being involved in their games, without becoming consumed and addicted to it. Working with time limits will help you to protect your children online because they won’t be exposed to people.
- Teach them about strangers. Extending the conversation about strangers to people online is important for you and your children. If they understand what to recognise and why they shouldn’t share information about themselves and their families online, they will be able to act smart me instead of being caught by hackers