11 Tips To Keep Your Kids Safe Online

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The internet is a big part of life for kids. They use it to chat with their friends, research homework topics, and keep up with their favorite celebrities. If they’re feeling especially creative, they can even learn website design for kids and create their own sites.

Unfortunately, the internet provides abusers with an easy way to target children. One in seven children aged between 11-18 have been asked to send sexually explicit images or messages, and 60% have been sent messages from strangers.

Follow these tips to keep your kids safe online:

  1. Use built-in parental controls

Windows and Mac devices both come with settings that let you control which websites your child can see. You can also invest in additional apps that serve the same purpose. Qustodio, Kaspersky Safe Kids, and KidLogger are three popular options.

  1. Keep your family’s computers and tablets in shared spaces

If your child knows that you could walk past at any moment, they may think twice before trying to visit questionable websites.

  1. Make sure your kids know how to pick strong passwords

Anyone can be a victim of identity fraud or have their online accounts hacked, and kids are no exception. Teach them the importance of creating strong passwords, and remind them that they must not share them with anyone aside from you.

  1. Use a VPN

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) lets you and your family safeguard your online identities. When your child browses the internet via a VPN, it is almost impossible for other internet users to track down their location or get hold of sensitive information.

  1. Read up on the latest technology and websites

It’s a good idea to keep track of the latest trends so you can anticipate the risks your kids might face. Children’s charity NSPCC has up to date guides to the most popular sites and services on their website.

  1. Guide your kids towards family-friendly sites and media

If you have young children, make time to browse the internet together. Find age-appropriate sites and bookmark their favorites. If your children enjoy spending time on these sites, they are less likely to look for new online entertainment.

  1. Give them a “stranger danger” talk fit for the 21st century

Most children know that it’s a bad idea to talk to strangers in real life. Do your children know that the same applies to people they meet online? Make it clear that they must never share personal information or reply to messages if they don’t know the sender. Tell them that if they ever receive a message that makes them uncomfortable, they should let you know about it.

  1. Stay alert to signs of cyberbullying or grooming

Mood swings, personality changes, social withdrawal, anxiety, and unexplained physical symptoms such as stomachaches can all be signs of distress caused by online abuse.

  1. Check your child’s internet history

If your children are young or not especially tech-savvy, they might not know how to delete their browsing history. Check it on a regular basis, along with the contents of the Trash folder.

  1. Be a good role model

You can’t expect your child to use the internet responsibly if you are glued to your phone all evening or spend hours in chatrooms. Put down your devices and insist on quality family time.

  1. Listen

Finally, let your child know that you will always listen to them if they want to talk about something upsetting they’ve found or seen online. Tell them that their safety always comes first and that you would never blame them if someone else has said or done something wrong.

The internet might seem a scary place, but a little common sense and communication will go a long way in protecting your child.

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