A Modern Day Fairy Tale: Cyber Safety: How To Keep Your Kids Secure Online

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Cyber Safety: How To Keep Your Kids Secure Online


In today’s digital world, it’s easy to be connected with someone across the globe in just a click of a button. While this possibility opens countless opportunities, it can also be dangerous. Over half of small businesses are worried about cyber attacks, but the average person does not always have this awareness.

But a sharp sense for cyber security is key to keeping your children safe online.

“As with the real world, the Internet has its seamy side  -- and it's all too easy for kids to stray into it,” Anne Reeks writes in Parenting. “Click-click and a Peter Cottontail fan's search for 'bunnies' turns up raunchy pictures of women wearing fuzzy white ears and not much else. Porn, questionable characters, hate groups, and misinformation flourish online. To preserve the best of what's online for your kids and avoid the garbage.”

To help your children avoid inappropriate content and dangerous web users, consider these simple tips.

  1. Keep internet use age appropriate. Your seven-year-old does not need to be looking at the same content as your middle schooler. Understand what online activities are suited for which age groups. While your older child might be showing interest in social media, your youngest can be content playing games.

  1. Follow your child’s social media profiles. Once your child shows interest in starting an Instagram or other social media account, be sure to follow it. Teach them how to control who follows them and how to choose what to post.

  1. Open up communication. Make yourself an ally in their online world. Let them know that they can come to you if they see anything upsetting, confusing, or inappropriate. And of course, encourage them to show you any inappropriate or threatening messages they receive.

  1. Teach your child internet safety rules. While your child’s school likely goes over cyberbullying, online safety, and similar topics, it is your job to reinforce these lessons. Talk about what topics and posts are appropriate and which are not. Also talk to them about the messages they are sending other people and how to keep these friendly.

  1. Set parental controls. Especially for young children, it's wise for parents to set up parental controls. Most internet browsers have these capabilities, but you can also purchase external programs. As your child gets older, you can loosen these controls.

  1. Create limits. Remember that you can control your child’s technology use. Limit screen time and consider what devices your child is old enough to use. The earlier your child has a personal device, the earlier they will have access to the web.

It’s important for parents to remember that children may not naturally look out for their own security. They don’t understand online threats like you do, so you will need to step in.

“They’re inquisitive — that’s what children are, and that’s what makes them so wonderful,” Ju’Riese Colon, the executive director of external affairs for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, said in a statement to Time. “But at the same time, we need to guide them in the direction in which they need to go.”

In the case of the internet, this direction is away from questionable content and toward age-appropriate websites and apps. Open communication and be there for your child. This will make all the difference.

2 comments:

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  2. Its a scary world out there!! Im comforted to know there's a lot of programs available to keep him a little safe. We plan to have full disclosure between him and us on the things he accesses online until he moves out lol!! So he has a looooooooong time yet ;)

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