Technology is everywhere. Kids learn this early in life and learn to operate it better than adults. They use it in school, as well as at home. With the increasing access kids have to both mobile media and the internet, it is important to take a few extra steps to keep kids safe online.
1) Block inappropriate sites with keywords in Windows which are not to be accepted when your child is searching online. This may avoid kids having access to sites which have content that is inappropriate or harmful. Microsoft has also developed a system (known as Microsoft Family Safety), which allows you to block specific applications, programs, or sites from view of children. While it is a bit over zealous in its performance, blocking sites that are sometimes okay, it may be worth implementing at times, especially when young children have access to the computer.
2) Create separate accounts for kids and adults. By creating a password and a separate account for kids, they will not be able to access the sites or programs used most often by adults in the family. This can keep them relatively safe, even if used as the only security measure, as long as you log in for them and protect the passwords.
3) Monitor access to video and other media. This should be done whether it involves standard PC usage or mobile devices. But mobile devices provide the easiest access to media for kids. They are also often quite skilled at maneuvering around whatever security measures are in place. So a little extra caution is needed by parents to avoid their exposure to inappropriate material.
4) Limit the use of mobile devices. While you want kids to be exposed to good media and educational tools, by limiting their time on such devices, you can lower the risk of their getting into things they shouldn’t. Since schools are often requiring the use of such technologies at home now, if they are limited to only a hour per night, for example, they will tend to use their time more wisely than if they are allowed to surf all night long, on and off.
5) Control kids’ access to social media chat and accounts. Face Book allows anyone 13 and over to be a member of their site. But this is not a magical age in which kids learn to be adults in their choices. Remember that there are millions of people on Face Book today. Go into your child’s social media account and see who is commenting, posting, and “friending” your child. This way, you will know what is going on, and you can control any issues or instances of cyber bullying and other problems before they begin.
These are a few tips to implement to keep your kids safe online. There are many others we may discuss in a future post. The key is to know who your child is talking to, what they are doing, and what they are exposed to, just as you do as a parent in the real world.
Adam Schults is a professional blogger that discusses various legal topics. He writes for Musca Law, a leading law firm in Florida.