How to Stay Safe Online: An Expert's Guide for Parents

Mar 29, 2012

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The Internet can be a tool for learning and growth. With technology becoming more prevalent in the lives of children, it is necessary to protect them from harmful outside sources as they innocently browse. Trying to maintain and control the internet is a daunting task. A parent may ask, “Where do I begin?”

The first step is education. There are many software programs available to filter web pages but they are just tools in an online safety strategy. Find out what the best defenses are for Internet safety. As parents, you must study and sample new technology to accommodate your children's needs. Technology is always advancing so you must prepare yourself for future needs as well.

Be cautious on social networks. As entertaining and informative as they may be, they're the most open forums on the web. That means information can be easily accessed. On these types of sites, teach your children to never give out addresses, phone numbers, birthdays, age, current locations or the schools they attend.

A profile picture can be misleading. Children are trusting beings. Teach them that profile pictures are not always as they seem. A predator's easiest entrance to your child's circle of friends is by posing to be their same age.

Take advantage of offered features. Fortunately, many social networks have features that you can enable to protect yourself from strangers' eyes. Enable them for your children and make sure they stay activated.

There is safety in open areas. Have your children use computers and mobile devices in common areas of your house. It allows you to partially monitor usage. This might prevent any mischief they could get into.

Create an Internet-usage schedule. For young children, set aside time slots during the day for when they can use the Internet. Don't allow them to use the Internet late at night or alone.

Activate built-in parental controls. Many operating systems have parental control already available to use. Enable them for extra safety as children play and access the web through video games. In addition to that, be aware of the new apps, software programs, video games, etc. your children are using.

Online spending? Your children will be asked to buy or pay for something while online. Talk to your children about your online spending rules and how they should handle such situations when they arise.

Communication is key. Discuss with your children where they go on the Internet, with whom they are friends, and answer any questions that arise. Let your children's journey in the internet realm begin with set rules and understanding.

I work for ContentWatch and all opinions expressed here are my own.