How to Keep Your Kids Safe on the Internet
Technology is very prevalent in our home. Our daughter is 13 and she has a laptop, an iPad and she just got an iPhone. We gave our son his first entry-level tablet for his 4th birthday. He had already been playing on his sister’s hand-me-down tablet from about the age of 3.
Though we don’t allow our son to go online yet, our daughter is very much online already, Whatsapping her friends, looking up information for school projects and the like. She had an Instagram account for a while but (thankfully) got bored of it. Oh, and both children love YouTube videos.
That’s why I am so grateful for the very timely advice in this expert guest post.
Know That Your Children Are Going To Get Online
Guest Post – Chris San Filippo of HotSpot Shield
In this day and age, there is no way to keep your child completely shielded from the internet. They are going get online at school, or at the home of a friend. They will be exposed to the internet when they go on school field trips, and when they go to the public library.
Instead of trying to shield your child from the internet, you instead have to accept that times have changed. You should focus on making sure that the internet experience that your child has is ultimately a safe one.
There are a wide variety of dangers on the web, especially for children. It can be easy for an adult to fall into an email phishing scheme, so imagine how easy it is for a child to miss the warning signs. Cyberbullies, identity thieves, and other dangers await online as well.
Let’s take a look at what you can do to keep your child safe online.
Do Your Children Know What Safe Internet Use Is?
It is imperative that your child understands what safe internet use is:
- You should let your child know what you expect from them online: what websites are acceptable and what types of sites are not.
- Your child should know not to share personal information online like phone numbers, addresses, birthdays, or social security numbers.
- Your child should understand not to talk to strangers online, and to let an adult know if they are feeling uncomfortable at any time.
A child who does not follow these directions might make the mistake of giving away personal information to a dangerous individual in a chatroom.
Stay Updated On Internet Threats
It is critical that parents stay updated on the latest internet threats.
- Cyberbullying is a major threat to children online, but there are also
- Predators who try to lure children into chatrooms and then attempt to meet with them offline.
- There are email phishing schemes and malware threats from websites who attempt to gain access to your child’s computer and personal data.
Parents should be aware of the growing risks and take steps to make sure that their child knows the threats as well.
How Parents Can Help Their Children Navigate The Web
Parents can help their child by establishing internet rules early on. Children should understand what kind of online behaviour is acceptable and what is not.
- Children should understand that they need to choose strong passwords.
- They shouldn’t forget to log out of their social media accounts, especially when at public libraries (such as the ones in elementary and middle schools).
- Parents should generally be aware of the sites that their children are visiting and making sure that the privacy controls on those sites keep third parties from viewing their child’s personal information.
Today, parents are often using virtual private networks, or VPNs, to make sure that their children are accessing the web safely.
- VPNs establish a tunnel between a device connecting to the web and a server located somewhere else around the world.
- The connection is secure, and all the information passing through the tunnel is encrypted.
- In addition, the VPN user is provided with a new IP address.
- This all makes it impossible for third parties, ISPs, hackers, or government actors to track what VPN users do online.
For parents, VPNs offer the best way to keep their children safe from hackers and prying eyes no matter where they are when they are accessing the web.
How are you keeping your kids safe on the internet? Have you had these conversations? Are you using VPN’s? I’m still trying to get my head around the concept…
Hey… Who’s keen to write a follow-up post on “Setting up a home VPN step-by-step” (for the not-so-techno savvy Mom, like me)?