By Andrew Wilkes
The world has become more reliant on online connections than ever before. The internet is the easiest way to stay connected with kids and for them to explore, learn and find entertainment when they need it. But, it’s important to keep kids as safe as possible while they browse the World Wide Web. Let’s discuss five ways to keep kids safe while they use the internet.
- Set Up Programs To Monitor Internet Usage. You can’t monitor what your child is doing online 24/7, no matter how hard you try. You need to sleep, eat, and go to work Fortunately, you don’t have to do all the work in this category. There is software available to keep track of internet use, block inappropriate content on social media sites like Instagram and TikTok, and even manage amounts of screen time.
- Review Apps Beforehand. Before your child downloads anything to their device, be it a game, a learning app, or a social media site, make sure to do your research. Apps purchased or downloaded from stores often have reviews that users post detailing the quality of the app. Read them, and if they seem negative or indicate that the app may not be safe for kids, let your child know. Be sure to pay close attention to any apps and sites that feature end-toend encryption, video chats, direct messaging file uploads and user anonymity. These are all tools that are frequently relied upon by online child predators.
- Keep A Closer Eye On Your Children’s Activity. Social media sites are a labyrinth of connection, activity and exposure, and it’s not always easy to know exactly what kids are seeing or sharing. Sometimes, you need to see your kids’ activities for yourself. Social media accounts aren’t difficult to make. Find out what sites your child has an account with, sign up under a different name, and then follow them. This way, you can see firsthand just what they are sharing with their followers, what posts and pages they like, and the manner of content they are exposed to.
- Set Parental Controls. Devices, apps, and games generally have privacy settings and parental controls that can block certain content. Finding out what they are and how to adjust them is one of the easiest ways to keep your children safe online. Talk to your internet service provider about parental controls over your chosen network. And communicate with your children about these privacy settings so that they know why they exist.
- Watch For Potential Signs Of Distress. Be aware of any changes in your child’s behavior, both online and offline. If they exhibit signs of anxiety, depression and anger, suddenly make attempts to hide their online activity, or noticeably change their device usage, talk to them. Again, make sure that your child knows they won’t get in trouble or have their device usage restricted if they’re honest about what they may have seen or done.