How do I protect my child on the internet? How can I Keep my child safe on the internet? What are some online safety practices for kids? These questions and more would bother any parent today and even would be parents, and rightly so.
My experience the last time I went to the hospital made me appreciate better the need for parents to teach their kids basic safety internet measures. At the hospital, while I was waiting at the HMO office, a fair and chubby middle aged woman walked in hurriedly with her two kids, drops of sweat trickling down her bare face. It was her 4 months old baby that needed to see the Doctor. While the sick baby set the whole room ablaze with his alarming screams and the mother endlessly soothed him, the second child of about 2 years kept calm throughout the drama, suspiciously. Upon further enquiry, I discovered the boy was busy with his mum’s phone. When I looked to see what he was up to, he was on YouTube, watching excitedly a kid’s music channel, while his mum’s internet data wept. This little boy is a typical digital native I said to myself as I watched him navigate other Apps on his mum’s phone enjoyably. But my heart skipped when I imagined the number of dangers he could be exposed to while innocently exploring the internet. Bullying, phishing, identity theft and many more dangers that abound on the internet for unsuspecting children. Of course, most of our kids, like the little boy in the hospital are unsuspecting.
So the responsibility rests on loving parents to teach their kids how to stay safe online. No matter how hard we try to monitor our child’s activities online, it is always better to teach them basic online safety tips so that when mum or dad is not monitoring them, they can still keep safe. So, in this article, we will be sharing some simple and effective tips parents can teach their kids to keep them safe on the internet. 11 Simple Ways to Protect Your Child on the Internet
1. Expose The Danger If you want to keep your child safe online, to start with, you have to inform your kids about the danger that lurks online. As much as you want your child to enjoy the dividends of skyrocketing technological innovations of their time, you do not want them to ignorantly invite danger to into your home or their lives. So orientate your kids generally about the various crimes that happen in the cyberspace and how they can avoid such evils.
2. Personal Information Sharing People generally believe that Information is power but to internet fraudsters, your personal information is a lot of money. Help your kids to understand that their personal information is sacred. They must not needlessly disclose their date of birth; home addresses, or email passwords; banking details, phone numbers and other personal information. They must not give their travel details out in excitement, this could be dangerous. Cyber criminals are voraciously on the lookout for such information and you don’t want your child to be a victim.
3. Free Wifi is Free Evil These days, there seems to be free Wifi everywhere you go. Teach your kids to avoid using free Wifi as much as possible. Hackers and cyber criminals perpetuate their evils in the name of free Wifi.
4. Check Privacy Settings Another internet safety tip for parents is to help their kids check privacy settings on their accounts. Browsers can be adjusted in the menu so as to protect kids from viruses and adult contents.
5. Backup is Important Help your kids understand the importance of back up for their data, and this must be done regularly. Get your kids an external drive to backup important documents and files on their computer. Should there be any incidence of cyber crime such as ransomware, they could easily resort to the backup.
6. Always Close Opened Accounts Another way to keep kids safe online is to teach them not to leave their accounts opened. Whether they are using their personal laptop or they browse at the Cyber Café, they should always close their accounts before leaving a site. For example, if they open their Facebook account with another person’s computer, they must remember to log out properly before closing the computer.
7. Use of Strong Passwords Use of very strong passwords is the antidote to most cyber crimes. Teach your kids to use very strong passwords for their accounts. They can have a combination of both upper and lower cases, alphabets and numbers etc. They should avoid using cheap passwords such as their date of birth. Do not use the same password for numerous accounts simply because you can easily remember them. Create different strong passwords for all your accounts. If you will find it difficult remembering your passwords, you can increase your password protection with a password management program which can remember each password and you need to remember just one password to unlock others. Teach your kids these.
8. Reputation is Everything Another way to make the internet safe for your children is to teach them that whatever goes on the internet stays on the internet. Once they post their pictures online, it stays online forever even after they might have deleted them. And whatever they post online could be used against them in the nearest future. Questionable pictures or obscene speeches should never mistakenly find their way online.
9. Look Before You Click If you receive strange emails with too good to believe offer, then it is simply too good to believe. Do not click any link therein. Hackers may use a friend’s identity to deceive victims into clicking a link or taking certain detrimental action. If you receive an unusual message from a friend that hardly chats you, don’ be too quick to take his or her intended action. It could be that his account has been hacked. Engrave this simple but vital internet safety tip into your child’s heart.
10. Parental Monitoring Apps If you feel your kids need monitoring even after instilling these basic safety tips in them, parental monitoring Apps are a good option for you and your kids. We talked about some of the best parental tracking Apps here, feel free to see the best App for you and your kids.
11. Lead by Example The best way to make your kids live by these online safety practices is to let them see you practicing them. When you learn about any instance of hacking or personality theft, share such experiences with your kids. Let them see the importance of strictly following the guidelines you give them. As your kids grow, they will definitely become more tech-savvy than you their parents. But for now, it is solely your responsibility to ensure that your kids are safe, both physically and on the internet.
What are some of the best online safety tips you have been practicing? How do you help your kids to be safe while using the internet? Kindly share your thoughts in the comment sessions, loving parents like you below in the comment session.