Your children are growing up in a world with technology you may never have imagined when you were their age. The web and mobile devices open up new worlds of communication, learning, and interaction, but they can be dangerous too. It's important to take workable, proven steps to keep your children safe online. Here are the top 10 internet safety tips for parents for 2015/2016.
Your kids pick up on what you do, so model good behavior online. Don't engage in practices you wouldn't want them using, such as posting questionable photos, "trolling" people with rude or mean behavior, or using foul language. Demonstrate the types of practices you would encourage in them.
As children get older, they become incredibly savvy about new social networks and apps, and if you don't make a conscious effort to keep up with them, you could be allowing them to place themselves and their personal information at risk. Follow a handful of popular tech blogs, like TechCrunch and Mashable to stay apprised of popular new online platforms and top tips for e-safety.
Just as you teach your children about the facts of life or about the dangers of drugs, you should teach them about going online. You don't have to try to scare them, but let them know you know the dangers and how they could unwittingly put themselves at risk. Let them know the danger of, say, announcing your family vacation online (and in the process telling everyone when your home will be empty). Many parents discuss new tips to be safe on the Internet with their children and exchange opinions.
The specific rules you establish depend on your children's ages as well as how mature and responsible they are. In general you should set and get their agreement on rules about things like how long they can spend online, what time at night they have to go offline, which websites they're allowed to visit, and when it's OK to share photos and videos.
Take the time to learn privacy settings on popular sites like social networks, and then show them to your kids and discuss them. Emphasize the importance of keeping personal information private, and make it clear they can talk to you any time they experience something online that feels wrong or frightens them.
Particularly when kids are younger, you want to keep your home technology in common use rooms like the living room or kitchen. How old your child is when you allow him or her to use devices in their rooms depends on your general family rules and your kids' maturity and responsibility levels. Regularly review the sites your kids visit and messages they send and receive.
Sure, it's convenient to store payment information online, but you don't want to make it too convenient for your kids to shop on the web. Make a rule that they ask you when they want to make a purchase, and that you enter credit card information. Read your credit card statements every month and make sure you recognize all the transactions listed.
Maybe your parents limited the time you could spend watching television when you were a kid. Today a lot of passive viewing activity is done over the web, so it's important to consider this when setting limits on how much media your kids consume. Keep in mind that older kids may be required to go online for some homework assignments and plan accordingly.
Mobile devices can determine location, and some apps (like Facebook) use this to display where a user is located. While you may want to know where you older kids are when they're out with their mobile device, you may not want them broadcasting their location on social networks. Talk to them about the possible risks of location tracking and when they should and should not use it.
Many parents turn to technology to help them keep kids safe online. Today you can get internet filtering technology that blocks inappropriate content not only on desktop computers and laptops, but across all devices kids use. Following e-safety tips for parents are essential, but using the power of technology as a backstop to your rules helps you prevent problems and keep your children safe on the web.
The particular internet safety tips for parents that your household uses will depend on how old your children are, how mature they are, and what your other general household rules are. Familoop Safeguard lets you enforce the digital rules that you specify without being overly invasive of your kids' privacy. What's more, it works across devices, so you can feel safe regardless of which devices they're using - sign up to Familoop Safeguard trial to get all the e-safety tips for parents listed above in action and protect your kids reliably.