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Keeping Your Children Safe Online

The internet can be a wonderful tool for children. From playing their favorite games to reading about their favorite subjects, the web provides endless possibilities for learning and fun. But there's also a dark side that parents should be aware of so they can keep their children safe. Predators, time-wasters, and questionable content are as abundant as anything else on the internet. So, how can parents steer their children in the right direction? Here's a helpful list of things to help keep children safe online.

  • Educate your child
  • Supervise your child online
  • Use parental control tools
  • Have an online time limit

Educate Your Child
First things first: a parent needs to educate their child on the dangers of the internet. You don't want to scare them by saying "there are bad people out there to get you," but it's good for a child to know that they need to be careful. Teach them that they should never give someone information about themselves, even if it's something as simple as their name. It's also a good idea to teach them what to do if questionable pop-ups or other materials appear on the screen. Keep it simple by showing them how to turn the computer screen off when something comes up.

Supervise Your Child Online
Children need to be monitored online just like anywhere else. You wouldn't allow your child to wander around town unsupervised, and the same applies to internet "wandering." There are many, many things on the web that children should not be allowed to view, so never let your child surf the web alone. This can be achieved easily by keeping your home computer in a high traffic area in the house. This will allow you to keep an eye on them without necessarily "hovering" over their every move. Doing this will give your child a sense of independence, without actually putting them out of reach.

Use Parental Control Tools
Another way to monitor your child online is by using parental control tools. These tools are designed to block out questionable websites and only allow children onto ones appropriate for their ages. Parental controls can be found through your internet service provider (or ISP), local retail store, and even through your browser. Be sure to keep in mind, though, that the tools are not fool proof!

Have an Online Time Limit
Time wasters are abundant on the net. From Facebook and Twitter to YouTube and gaming sites, hours upon hours can be completely wasted online. If given free reign, children (especially teenagers) would squander most of their time playing on their virtual farm and watching viral videos. It would be a good idea for a parent to set a reasonable limit on these time drains so children aren't on them every waking hour.

The internet is an amazing tool that can teach children many things. By educating, monitoring,
using the tools at your disposal, and limiting time wasters, you ensure that your child will have a great online experience.

guest post by Courtney Bishop

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