Most parents have been running around the electronics stores purchasing the latest and greatest electronic gifts for their children’s Christmas Wish List. You probably cashed in on some of the smoking hot deals during Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Now as you sit down at the dining room table wrapping all of these presents while the kids are still in school you start to worry. How are you going to protect your children while they are using this exciting new technology?
Suzie is getting her first tablet, and John needed a computer because he will be in High School next year. Plus, for the family you splurged and bought an Xbox 360. Now is a good time to start thinking about what guidelines you need to have established when the kids start using these fantastic gifts you saved a bundle on.
Here are 7 Guidelines to keep your Children safe online.
1) Explain to the Children that all electronic devices will be used in the family room where you will be able to periodically monitor their use. They cannot use them in their bedrooms.
2) Install software that allows you to set Parental Controls so that you can indeed monitor where your children have been surfing on the internet, and have the ability to block sites as needed.
3) Take the time to sit down with your children and actually show them how to use the Internet safely and set clear expectations of consequences if they do not follow your guidelines.
4) Stress the fact that you will not allow them to use chat rooms. This is how personal information is often discovered.
5) If they want to set up an account on a particular website, they need to come to you first. Tell them you will review the website and determine if this site is age appropriate for them.
6) Set up the account on the website your child wants to use yourself, allowing you to maintain access for periodic checks of activity and site changes.
7) Finally, stress to your children that if they are ever the victim of cyberbullying or receive any type of inappropriate information to report it to you immediately.
Now, this is the hard part. You, the parent will actually have to get up periodically when the children are in the family room using these devices and monitor what is on their screen. Not just one time but several times when they least expect it. Use the Parental monitoring software to see what websites they have visited.
If indeed, the children have been following your guidelines, then you should congratulate yourself on a job well done. However, if they have not been following your guidelines, follow through on the expectations of consequences you originally set.
For more information about keeping your children safe on the internet, visit:
Kidshealth.org Internet Safety
I’m glad you mentioned tablets because obviously the iPad is pretty popular but these new devices can sometimes be overlooked by parents who think they have internet security otherwise covered. The main computer, for example, may be set to filter content but don’t forget, your kids use your iPhone and tablet too! Fortunately there are filters for iPads and iPhones as well. Safe Eyes Mobile for example does this, and you can buy it in the App store. It’s just good to keep this stuff in mind, considering how quickly you can get into trouble on the internet.