The Internet is a great tool for information, entertainment, and interpersonal connection. Unfortunately, not everyone using the internet is doing so in a family-friendly manner. Approximately 93% of teens between 12 and 17 have access to the internet, and 73% have profiles on various social networking sites. With internet use so widespread, it can be difficult to protect your kids online. Fortunately, it is possible to monitor internet activity in the home.
Here are some internet safety tips for parents and kids:
- The best way to protect your kids online is to talk to them! A trusting relationship with open communication is key to internet safety. Make sure your kids know it is ok to come to you with things that make them uncomfortable. If they are younger, establish that a shared account on websites that you both have access to is necessary for their internet use.
- The second thing you want to do is make sure that anywhere there is parental control for internet, it is turned on. This includes Safe Search on Google, and any internet content filtering software that may be included with your anti-virus programs.
- Be sure your children know not to post any personal information online, and that people are not always who they say they are. In fact, it can be beneficial to have them create new identities when they sign up for different websites, so that their actual information is never online at all.
- Be aware of webcams, and cover or hide them when they are not in use. While it is unlikely that someone will remotely operate your specific camera, it is not impossible, and it is better to be safe than sorry.
- Approximately 68% of teens think that cyberbullying is a serious problem today. Teach your child to stick up for people who are being cyberbullied, and to tell you if someone starts to harass them.
These are the most common tips for internet safety, but by no means an exhaustive list. If you have ideas parents can use to protect kids on social media or other websites, feel free to put them in the comments!!