Just as you would not give a toddler unfettered access to all television stations, so too should you avoid letting your kids have unlimited browsing capabilities online. Not all content is suitable, so it is up to you to help filter out inappropriate content through supervision and—if needed—software designed to help you set limits.
Teach Internet Safety
When your children were just beginning to explore the world, you probably taught them how to interact with strangers, such as not giving out personal information. This rule is important online, too. Teach your children not to give out any personally identifiable information, including their full name, phone number, address and school. Teaching this as soon as they begin exploring online will help instill in them the common sense approach to staying safe online. It is also very important to impress upon your kids to never send a picture via the Internet to someone they do not know. Many children have been exploited by online predators to send pictures of themselves in various stages of dress or undress.
You may not be able to watch your children every minute they are online, but you can make it easier for them to stay safe by setting time limits on their Internet time. Use age appropriate time limits and be consistent in enforcing these limits.
Discuss Inappropriate Behavior
You do not need to go into much detail, but touch on the most common inappropriate behaviors online so that your children know when something is not right. Sexual discussions, cyber bullying and probing questions are things your children should know to come to you when they encounter. Let them know you are there to protect them and that they can feel safe turning to you for help.
Use Free Tools
Many Internet service providers offer built-in parental controls that allow you to block certain content. Top web browsers do this as well. Utilize these free tools, or invest in a program, such as Net Nanny, WebWatcher or McAfee Safe Eyes, to help you make sure your kids see only what they are supposed to see.
”Friend” Your Kids
A general rule of thumb is that you should not post on social media what you would not want your parents to read. Make sure of it by connecting with your children on their social media networks. While this is not a substitute for other methods, it can help you see when things are not quite what they should be.
Keeping kids safe online is a new challenge, but staying involved, setting limits and knowing what your children are accessing can help them enjoy the many benefits the Internet has to offer without compromising their safety. There are many predators out there in real life as well as online and kids need to be educated about the dangers of trusting strangers.
This article was provided by David Michael Cantor the owner of Arizona’s Premier Criminal Defense Law Firm, The Law Offices of David Michael Cantor. David is a Certified Criminal Law Specialist and his firm is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell.