The Internet has become an essential tool for almost everyone around the globe. Most children tend to go online for school and surf the web for entertainment, but parents must be aware of the dangers kids face when using the Internet. To help you with this, we created this short and simple guide with Internet safety tips for children. Read on to learn about some tools and techniques that’ll help you and your children enjoy the benefits of the Internet while staying safe.
Promote Healthy Technology Use at Home
These days, it’s increasingly common for young children to have access to digital devices and surf the web, whether alone or under adult supervision. Many kids and teens even have their own tablets or smartphones. To promote safe and enjoyable experiences with Information and communications technology (ICT), we recommend the following tips:
- Talk to your children openly about the risks that may exist on the Internet.
- Familiarize yourself with the websites and social networks your children use. Explore these websites with your children and on your own so that you understand how they work, the type of content available, and the general dynamics of each site.
- Try to learn about the language that children use online. This will help you understand them better and recognize if they’re in danger.
- Promote areas of your household where your children are allowed to use their digital devices, such as the living room or computer room. This will make it easier to monitor their online activities and avoid excessive screen time, which can unintentionally cause the child to alienate themselves from their family unit.
- Advise your children about the dangers of talking to strangers both in real life and online. Also, teach them how to properly use the webcam. A recommended practice is to place a removable sticker in front of the camera whenever it's not in use.
- Make sure that you’re aware of your child’s school’s policies and restrictions on Information and communications technology (ICT).
- Develop a set of guidelines on how you want your children to use connected devices at home. You can base these guidelines on their school’s policies. Doing this will show your children that their school and household rules on technology are aligned, avoiding confusion and encouraging safe internet habits at all times.
- Help and guide your children whenever they create a personal online account, ensuring that they don’t disclose any personal information. Also, be sure to talk to them about online privacy. Remember, personal data shared in these usernames and online profiles can be seen across emails, social networks, chat rooms, games, and other channels.
- If you detect a threat or dangerous situation, approach your local authorities to instruct you on how to proceed. You can find a guide on how to do this here.
Below is a list of basic tools that will help make your family’s Internet use a secure and private experience.
- Set up Google SafeSearch and select the "Use strict filter" option to prevent sexual content from appearing in your children's searches.
- Check if your Internet Service Provider (ISP) offers free filtering tools.
- Install an antivirus and firewall on all your devices to prevent malicious software, spyware, or viruses. This will help protect you and your family’s information.
More Internet Safety Tips
It's important to be aware of online dangers and threats such as cyberbullying, cyber grooming, stalkers, and scammers. At the same time, it's crucial to stay up-to-date on protecting you and your family if you ever face any of these unpleasant circumstances. The following internet safety tips will help you find websites and tools to create a safe environment for you and your family’s online activities.
If you have teenage children, it is crucial that you speak openly to them about the importance of protecting their data and their reputation in cyberspace. Their digital activity can have an impact in their everyday life, at school, and even in their local community.
Dangerous practices, such as sexting or sharing erotic photos (nudes) are growing in popularity amongst teens and young adults. As the consequences of these practices can be dangerous to your children, it’s important to educate the entire family on how to keep their privacy safe. Learn more about how to teach your kids the dangers of teen sexting through this resource.
A good option for watching safe videos is using YouTubeKids, which provides parental controls and a timer for Youtube content. Using these settings, you can let your children browse the site while ensuring they are only accessing age-appropriate content and not exceeding their allotted time. Similarly, FamilyLink will allow you to have access to Android devices and all the Google products used by your children. This can help you control the apps they download, monitor the time spent on their smartphones, and have access to other helpful tools to keep you informed on their online activity.
The internet is and will remain an important part of our children's lives. Use these tips to feel safer when your children go online, but don't forget to keep up to date on the best practices for Internet safety to keep them safe. Eventually, your kids will learn to identify the risks and stay safe on their own!