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1. Internet Safety Advice: Top Tips for Parents
In this digital age, kids have more information at their fingertips than ever. Smartphones, tablets, and laptops are common attractions at home, school, and even public places. In addition, COVID-19 has made virtual learning mainstream and reduced the distance between children and the Internet.
The Internet can serve as an excellent tool for children. They can use it to communicate with teachers, do homework, and play interactive games. However, online access comes with a host of risks – online predators, cyberbullying, and inappropriate content are some of the most common ones.
Predators lurk on websites and apps that are popular among kids. Next, they pose as a teen or child who is looking to make a new friend. By adopting these shady techniques, they end up convincing children to reveal their personal information, including phone numbers and addresses.
Parents should track how their kids use the Internet in detail. Here are some internet safety tips for parents:
2. Discover the Internet Together
Don’t let your child learn about the Internet from any other place. When the parent and child learn about the Internet together, it can help the latter use it more safely. Moreover, parents can also show fun and exciting ways to use the Internet. For example, you can visit Nuwber and help your kid find their long-lost friend.
3. Be Aware of Age Restrictions
Various websites (e.g., Instagram and YouTube) have restrictions to ensure young people are kept safe when they use the Internet. Therefore, don’t let your child register on a website if they are underage or not ready.
4. Set Up Rules
Arrange a discussion on the weekend and set guidelines that can be applied to Internet use in your household. Consider these tips:
- Discuss when and for how long your child can use the Internet.
- Discuss how to behave towards other users during messaging, emailing, chatting, or gaming.
- Agree on what types of activities and websites are acceptable.
5. Protect Personal Information
In some cases, kids harmlessly disclose personal information. This can make them vulnerable to identity theft. A child’s identity can be as crucial as an adult’s. Scammers deceive kids and trick them into revealing details like social security numbers and home addresses. That is why you have to explain the dangers of identity theft to your children and explain how to avoid giving personal information. One way to do this is to teach them to be careful around YAPPY, which stands for Your Full Name, Address, Phone Number, Passwords, Your Plans, and Birthday.
6. Disable In-App Purchases
Many games and apps allow their users to buy additional game functionality, additional bonuses/points, and a multitude of extras. Often, children make these purchases without realizing the strain it puts on your wallet, while at the same, they become more addicted to these games. To neutralize their addiction, disable in-app purchases by updating your device’s settings.
7. Activate Safe Search
Try to reduce the risk of your child coming across inappropriate content when they use search engine functionality. For this purpose, turn on the “safe search” option in your search engine.
8. Restrict the Use of Devices In the Bedroom
Studies show that smartphones emit blue light, which can affect your body’s melatonin production. As a consequence, your child will find it hard to fall asleep if they use the phone before going to bed. Limit the number of devices and computers in the bedroom. Depending on your child’s age, you can consider setting a curfew or banning devices completely from the bedroom.
9. Click with Caution
Whether bold or subtle, phishing is one of the most dangerous cyber threats. One careless click from your child can cause malicious software to enter your network and inflict damage. Strike a chat with your children and ask them to avoid clicking on links in an email. Show them how they can hover the mouse over the link to verify its credibility. Threatening messages, odd emails from popular companies, and spelling mistakes are some of the common phishing signs aimed at installing malware on your device. If you are uncertain, avoid clicking on the link. Instead, visit the company site and reach out to the customer service department to find whether they sent the email. Usually, reliable anti-virus software can catch these emails before they infect your PC.
10. Communicate Regularly
It is important to keep talking to your child openly and regularly about what they are doing online. Motivate your kid to inform you when they encounter an online problem. Encourage them to create a course of action to follow as soon as they come across something shady (e.g., close the tab or tell an adult).
Coordinate with your child continuously to assist them with navigating around digital dilemmas. Reassure them by making it clear you won’t ban their device use. This will encourage them to become more expressive and share their digital concerns without any fear.
11. Secure Your Network Connection
Nearly every member of your family might access your internet connection, and each of them may use different devices. Cybercriminals are often looking to trick your kids so they can hack your home’s Wi-Fi network. Next, they can hack routers and gain control of all Internet-connected devices like smart doorbells and home security systems. To address these concerns, use a hard-to-crack password and install cybersecurity software to identify intruders in your network. Lastly, think about using a virtual private network (VPN) to improve the security of your home network.
Modern kids are growing in a cyber-centric world. It is simply not possible to keep the Internet away from them. However, what you can do is keep them safe and avoid certain cyber risks by adhering to the tips mentioned above.