For decades now, the internet has become a part of our daily lives. Having children grow up in a connected world is both exciting and challenging. Teaching kids safe online habits is crucial for today’s parents. Additionally, parents need to be able to effectively monitor their children’s activity and limit access to potentially dangerous parts of the web.
Children are quite clever, often more adaptable to the always changing online world than adults. It can be tough for parents to keep up with the latest apps, websites and even internet slang.
Social media, chat rooms and other online forums can be dangerous for kids. These are typically the main platforms for online predators. Regardless of your child’s intelligence and cautiousness, simple curiosity can lead them to dangerous parts of the web or unsafe conversations with adults.
Keep in mind that some apps and games have webcam functionality. While an extreme circumstance, these can been turned on remotely by tech-savvy predators.
Have frequent discussions about online safety. Take time to research online safety yourself and explain to your children what you’ve found. Ask your children open ended questions about what they already know about online safety. Having these conversations frequently can help the parent keep up to date with online trends and bring an awareness to the child.
Disable location tracking on apps that have location-sharing features. While your children may have no intentions of sharing their information, some apps will make that data public.
Set guidelines about what your child can do on the internet. Let them know what sites they can visit and what information they shouldn’t communicate. Try to learn the language your children use online. Explain to your children that predators will often try to disguise themselves as someone your child’s age. Teach them to keep their information private.
Be careful not to overreact when your child encounters a problem online. You want to keep the lines of communication open. Create a sense of trust, so they won’t be afraid of being punished for letting you know of potential issues.
If you are concerned about your mental health, don’t hesitate to seek advice. BHS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 800-245-1150.