A Guide For Low Tech Parents: Keeping Kids Safe Online.
There are some very confronting realities for us to face when it comes to our children's online lives. More and more devices offer internet access. Today’s kids are learning to use those devices at an ever-younger age. Even innocent Google searches for help with homework can lead to links that shouldn’t be seen by anyone, much less children. Plus, in a growing number of families, both parents work, and they simply can’t be around to monitor their offspring every minute of each day. However, there are a number of tools and strategies available to help help our kids learn to enjoy the internet, use it responsibly and protect both you and them.
Here's our quick guide:
1) Place computers in common areas at home.
Don’t allow kids to have a computer in bedrooms. The mere presence of a parent who may or may not be looking over a child’s shoulder while they use the computer can keep a child in line. They have no way of knowing if your eyes actually are good enough to see across the room, do they? Make sure the computer’s screen is visible from all parts of the room and isn’t turned toward a wall.
2) Educate yourself.
Many of us are now more knowledgeable about computers and mobile devices than ever before, but it never hurts to learn a bit more. Look for information from your Internet Service Provider (ISP), online resources, or yes, the library. Don’t be embarrassed to pick up a “Dummies” book on the subject. (You can buy it on your Kindle or from iBooks. No one will ever be the wiser.)
3) Spend time online with your kids.
Make browsing the web a family activity (just like watching television was for most of us when we were kids. Hang out with your kids and help them with their homework online, searching for information together. But, make sure to put the Google search filter on “safe.”
4) Set limits.
Set rules about what your child can and can’t do when on the internet. Set time limits on their computer use. Stick to them.
5) Discuss the dangers of the web with your child.
Sit down and have a discussion about the dangers of the internet. Talk openly and honestly about what’s out there and the kind of stuff they want to avoid. Scare the crap out of them, if needed. Forewarned is forearmed.
6) Keep youngsters out of online chat rooms, and reinforce the old rule, “never talk to strangers.”
Make sure your child knows that no matter how nice an online “friend” may seem to be, they are still a stranger, and may not be who they appear to be.
7) No personal information given out, and no “face-to-face” meetings.
Kids may not understand how giving out personal info like their phone number or address could be harmful. They may also want to meet their new “buddy” in real life. Say no, and never allow that.
8) NEVER let your child upload or download photos without your permission.
9) Check with your Internet Service Provider for any parental controls, blocking, and filtering tools they may offer.
Your internet provider should have stacks of software available to help you, control, block and filter information, videos and images online. Its only useful if its used though ; ) And if there’s none with your package, there are plenty available online or in stores.