Oh, the internet...
What a marvelous invention that allows us to connect with anyone in the world, at any time, day or night. What a spectacular creation to allow us to view beautiful landscapes and cultures other than our own.
But also... what a terrible development of online scammers, hackers, and people trying to harm our children, harm our families.
We all know this. Some, if not most of us have been affected by online scammers and hackers. This past year, my husband and I have had our credit card numbers stolen and those people have had a very good time with our money.
So how can we keep our kids safe on the internet? How can we make sure they aren't being bullied, seeing things they shouldn't see, or even keep them from falling into traps that lead to child trafficking?
This week I was contacted by Internet Advisor who asked if we were interested in sharing their Ultimate Guide to Internet Safety. Their article starts out talking about the actual internet threats out there.
While we think all around internet safety is important, here are 3 Actionable Tips on Internet Safety and Your Kids.
1. Open & Honest Discussions - As kids get older, they start to have their own sense of independence. Which is what they are supposed to have, but that means we have to be more diligent in talking with them.
It's important that you talk to them about what they do online, what the risks are, and what they should do if they encounter an inappropriate situation. It's also important that you be informed about the things that are popular with kids these days so that you can have a more thoughtful discussion to which they can relate, something that will encourage them to open up. Of course, kids aren't always going to be the more forthcoming, but so long as you approach the situation not as a helicopter parent trying to tell them what to do, but rather as a confidant and resource, you should be able to get through to them and help them understand what it means to be safe online. (Internet Advisor)
2. Parental Controls - Now, there is a lot of controversy around parental controls. Some people don't want to limit their kids, and I totally understand that. But in order to keep them safe, you need to look at the options you have.
In an ideal world, the conversations you have with your kids would make these controls unnecessary, but sometimes that's simply not the case. Some useful controls include preventing your kids from sharing information on social media without your permission. This may frustrate them, but some kids, especially younger kids, are simply too immature and therefore unable to tell which information simply mustn't be shared on the internet. (Internet Advisor)
3. Limited Screen Time - As much as we want to, limiting screen time isn't always going to happen. You can read our blog post The Kids Screen Time Guilt is Killing Us! 3 Tips to Let Some Go! if you still have some anxiety about how much the kids are on screens. According to Internet Advisor:
Limiting your child's screen time is probably a good idea no matter what, but it also decreases the chances of the falling onto a site where they can get into trouble. How you go about doing this will depend on the situation, but you could prevent kids from taking connected devices into their rooms after certain hours, or you could require them to browse on devices that are kept in public areas. (Internet Advisor)
After implementing the tips mentioned above, you might think of taking a back seat. But think again. Parents are regularly involved in every aspect of their children's playdates, school, or daycare environments, it is important for you to stay actively engaged in their online lives.
Read the full article from InternetAdvisor.com here: Ultimate Guide to Internet Safety
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