In this day and age, it’s inevitable; your child is going to be exposed to screens (a lot of them), and they will at some point have access to internet browsing. The internet offers a heap of benefits including educational resources, fun games, and also allows you to keep up with loved ones across the country or around the world. But the internet can also be a scary place, and can pose some serious risks unless the proper precautions are put in place. With recent stories all over the news, it’s an important reminder that there are many things parents can do to keep their kids safe online. Check out these 5 internet safety tips for kids to get started.
- Check, update, and increase your privacy settings. Not only can you protect yourself (and your computer) against internet viruses, you can also set restrictions against accessing certain websites and content.
- Set screen time limits. 30 minutes per day and only after homework and chores have been completed. For reference,The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than 1 hour of high-quality screen time for children ages 2-5. Less screen time = more time to run and play.
- Keep your children in plain sight when they’re browsing the web. Kids are curious but they’re less likely to browse inappropriate content if they know mom is looking over their shoulder. If they do find something inappropriate, have a talk with them so they don’t feel ashamed or fear that you’ll take their privileges away.
- Check your computer's browsing history often. Monitor which sites your child is visiting on a regular basis. If you come across anything questionable, have a very direct conversation with your child about what they were viewing and set internet expectations.
- Talk to them about their online reputation and help them understand that what you post online is forever. It’s important that children learn that everything they say, or share online is very public. Make sure your child knows never to share any personal information with strangers including their name or address.
Most importantly, create an open conversation with your child about internet usage and safety. This will help your child feel more comfortable approaching you with questions about content they have come across online. The internet doesn’t have to be a scary place, use these tips to keep your whole family safe online!