Kids On The Internet: Keeping Them SAFE
It's a strange paradox in our modern age. Often kids are more tech-savvy than their parents. Yet, it's a parent's job to make sure they keep their savvy kids safe when they're online. Complicated, I know--but yet, it's the world in which we live.
Many parents are concerned that, despite their best intentions, they ultimately aren't properly prepared to take the steps they need to in order to make sure their kids can safely surf the internet without endangering themselves in any way. So what's a parent to do?
Thankfully, you're not alone in this conundrum, and professionals who work in this area have chimed in help. Marc Saltzman is a high-tech reporter and a published author. Here's some of his insights about practical steps you can take starting today:
Just like in real estate, when it comes to keeping your kids safe online, one of the most important factors to consider is--location, location, location. It may seem strange in 2020 to suggest, but a huge way to create a safer space for your kids to surf online, is to keep the computer in family-accessible location.
You don't have to stare over their shoulder the entire time, nor should you. But, it does enable you to be somewhat aware of what sites they're visiting and who may be contacting your child.
Have you considered a monitoring software? There are many out there nowadays. Thankfully, whether they're surfing on a desktop, laptop, phone, or tablet--you have options. To maintain trust and communication, Saltzman recommends discussing these tools with your kids ahead of time.
You don't want kids to feel like you're spying on them--this can lead to them feeling you don't trust them and could encourage them to start keeping secrets. That's counterproductive both for their safety and your relationship with them.
Set time limits. Hey, this isn't a bad idea for adults, too. It's so easy to get lost for hours and hour online. Setting limits means kids (and adults) are compelled to focus more immediately on the tasks and/or play that they were aiming for, rather than aimlessly wandering around wasting time, and possibly, finding themselves in a dangerous situation.
Ready to dig deeper? Here's even more help for parents doing their best to help their kids navigate the online world safely.