For parents, keeping your children safe is a full-time job. Ensuring the safety of your kids is one of those unwritten responsibilities in the parenting handbook, along with feeding them, entertaining them and footing their bills for 18+ years. Safety is simple to teach when the guidelines are easily defined, like wearing a helmet, looking both ways before crossing the street and never talking to strangers. But when it comes to cyberspace, protective measures are a bit more difficult to enforce.
Keeping your children guarded from cyberthreats is just as important as ensuring their safety in the real world. The Internet is an open wealth of information: meaning you can read and find images of nearly anything. There’s also the threat of malicious hackers, who might try to invade your child’s privacy. And with online communication being so prevalent, there’s the opportunity to talk just about anyone, as well — including cyberbullies and predators.
Below are some ways to make sure your children are protected from inappropriate or harmful content, troublesome people as well as malicious attacks.
Lay the Ground Rules
Communicating with your kids about what’s safe to do on the Internet, and what isn’t can be a great start. Try having meaningful conversations about risks they might encounter, such as cyberbullying, and recommend that they come to you with any concerns. You could also set out some boundaries for them to follow, such as:
- Providing a list of safe websites and apps that they’re allowed to visit
- Communicating to them that they should never talk to strangers online
- Recommending that they block and report online bullies to you (when they’re talking to friends from school on the Internet)
If your kids are too young to understand and abide by these rules, consider keeping your eye on them while they use electronic devices. This way, you know exactly what they’re looking at and who they’re talking to.
Use Protective Software
While these rules can do their part, there are additional threats to shield your kids from, such as malware. Luckily there’s software on the market that can block out malicious intent. Don’t worry when browsing online with the below software installed on your computer. It will protect both your operating system and your children.
- Anti-virus software: To help you prevent issues like spyware and other malware that could result due to your child’s web browsing. This kind of software can also block harmful spam pop-ups from their screen.
- Parental control software: This program gives you the ability to block websites and apps, and also to manage the time that your child spends online.
Learning a few online safety tips and communicating these to your children will help them stay protected on the Internet. But it’s difficult to completely prevent them from accessing anything harmful with only rules in place. That’s why using protective software, alongside open communication and guidelines, are the best approaches for making sure your young ones stay safe online.
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