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PostHeaderIcon Keeping Your Kids Safe Online

Disclosure: This is a post written by me and any opinions expressed are my own. I may or may not have received compensation for my services.

Keeping Your Kids Safe Online - DelightfulChaos.com“Stranger Danger” used to be limited to creepy guys who would hang around the park and try to convince kids to come get candy out of their nearby vans. Today, “Stranger Danger” can apply to, well, anybody. This is because anyone can pretend to be anyone on the internet.

When we were growing up, there was no such thing as cyber bullying. Bullying referred to people, most of the time, picking on another person “out loud.” Even when someone talked behind someone else’s back, everybody knew who was saying what to whom. Today, kids can bully each other relentlessly online without teachers or other people ever knowing anything about it.

When we were kids, we weren’t encouraged to take “sexy selfies” or nude pictures and send them to people we thought liked us. Even if someone wanted one, there was no way to do it without someone else finding out about it. Back then, cameras had film and that film had to be developed by someone. It would likely be dropped off and picked up by our parents. Today, kids can send questionable content in an instant via their mobile devices. That questionable content can get sent to vast swaths of people in another instant.

The times, they have a-changed. Wow have they changed.

It’s difficult to know how, exactly, to keep our kids safe online when we never had to deal with the threats being posed to them today. Because we grew up in an era in which the Internet was largely regarded as a scary scary place, we are going to be a lot more reserved and scared of it than our kids, many of whom are growing up in a world that doesn’t know what life was like before Facebook.

So how do you reconcile your fear with your child’s comfort levels? How do you keep them safe when you don’t have the ability to monitor them every single second of the day? How do you keep them off of the web when more and more of life is taking place there? Heck, kids are more likely to use tablets in school now than they are to use paper and pen!

Start Talking Early

Kids, especially young ones, are extremely curious creatures. Curiosity is a good thing. When paired with the total lack of inhibition that most young kids have, though, it can be a very frightening thing for a parent! Kids aren’t afraid until we teach them to be. This means that, from a very early age, you need to teach your kids how to be comfortable talking to you about the things they experience, even if those things might make you uncomfortable. The last thing you want is for your kids to be too scared to tell you about questionable behavior because they’re afraid of making you squeamish or, worse, angry. If you get into the habit of talking about everything with your kids and keeping the doors open now, it’ll be easier later when they become teens.

Install Protections

The last thing you want is for your kids to have unfettered access to the internet while they are little (and likely to search for things that seem perfectly innocent but have been co-opted by SEO savvy adult site makers). Setting up parental controls on your web browsers is incredibly important. Parental controls will allow you to block certain sites, sites that have been given certain ratings and sites that ping any red flags in the parental control system. To keep older kids from simply guessing your password, use a password manager to help keep it under wraps.

Do not limit these parental controls to a desktop or laptop, though. Kids still in the primary grades have smart phones now. It is important to install parental filters on those devices too. WebSafety’s mobile internet filter helps parents with mobile phone tracking and usage of their child’s devices. The tracking is important, not just for your kids’ safety but for your budget. Children are notorious about using too much data.

Work With Other Parents

Every family is going to have different rules about what the kids are allowed to see and do online. Talk to your kids’ friends’ parents about the rules in your house and ask them about the rules in theirs. This way there is less worry about one child thwarting a parent’s rules while at a friend’s house.

These are just some of the tips that will help you keep your kids safe online. These, in addition to some basic safety rules (don’t meet anybody you don’t know) should help you bridge the gap between your fear and their comfort levels.

2 Responses to “Keeping Your Kids Safe Online”

  • Megan A says:

    my how times have changed indeed, i think talking early is a great tip

  • Mai T. says:

    No matter how much protection parents provide, they can’t protect their kids entirely from internet harm. But some actions are better than none.

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