Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tips to Keep Your Kids Safe Online

Surrounded by computers, tablets, and smartphones, children in this day and age tend to be extremely tech-savvy. This is largely an advantage as our modern world is growing more technologically advanced.

This comes with many benefits, as kids can get an academic edge by accessing educational programs on a tablet or online. Likewise, by using a computer to learn about things they are interested in, or even just to play games and connect with friends, they become better equipped for the future. After all, technology is not going away, and most of us use it daily for school, work, socializing, and recreation.

However, modern parents know that the vast world of the internet can also be a seedy and dangerous place. Precautions are necessary to protect the privacy and safety of your children and family in general, so here are some tips to reduce internet related risks.

Set Limits and Be Involved

This varies depending on the age of your children, but limiting internet usage is usually a good idea. Whether its 30 minutes after school for games and chatting with friends, followed by a set homework-only computer usage time after dinner, you decide the rules for what and how long your kids use the internet for. Enable parental controls and content blockers to better prevent your children from accessing inappropriate materials.

Likewise, be involved. Know what sites your child visits and what their favorite games or activities are. For younger children, it may be good to check out sites they are interested in beforehand. Place computers in a centralized place to better monitor what is being accessed on it.

Use Antivirus and Security Software

All devices, especially if used by children, should have good security and antivirus protections in place. Kids are more likely to make accidental clicks or be tricked by disguised links. Keep your devices updated and enable firewalls to thwart viruses, Trojans, and other malware from stealing your family’s information if they are inadvertently downloaded.

Talk With and Teach Good Online Behavior

Reduce your child’s vulnerability to risks and tricks on the internet by educating them. Teach them about cybercrime, cyberbullying, viruses, spam, pop-ups and email/chat solicitations, as well as how to react in those situations. Teach them not to click on links or ads and what to do if they accidentally download or access questionable content.

Talk to them about who they are chatting with and remind them that friends they make online might not be who they say they are. Discuss why they should never agree to meet online friends in person or share their full name, address, phone number, or pictures of themselves. Things like having a strong password, logging out of their account, and protecting their online reputation are equally as important.

Kids (in all stages of their lives) are better protected if they learn good online behavior, how to guard themselves, and what the related consequences are. Don’t neglect teaching and talking with your children as this is a critical way to protect them and your family.

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