With parents working-from-home and relying more heavily on electronic devices to help their children learn and stay busy, it’s more important than ever to keep safety in mind. The Internet is a vast world with many points of contact for children of all ages. Being conscientious about safety is critical. Here are a few Internet safety tips for parents to help keep children safe while accessing online resources and games.
1 – Use Built-in Content Filters
Operating systems are becoming smarter these days. Many come with built-in parental controls. For iPhones and iPads, for example, you can block adult content, specific apps, and app purchases under Content & Privacy Restriction settings. You can also set time limits for individual apps and view reports on screen time. These are great tools for parents and should be utilized. Note that you must create iCloud accounts and indicate they are for children in order to have access to these settings.
2 – Consider 3rd Party Parental Control Apps
If your devices do not come with the settings described above or if you’d like more options than what is provided, there are a wide range of third party parental control apps available. They have different features such as being able to see how much time is spent on each app, monitoring Internet searches, blocking specific websites, etc. Most of these are paid apps and run anywhere from $2/month to $50/month, depending on the features.
3 – Have an Open Dialogue With Your Children
Regardless of what parental controls you have in place, one of the most important Internet safety tips for parents is to talk to your children about their Internet usage and safety precautions. Make them aware of potential dangers without overly scaring them. This can sometimes be a fine line, depending on the age of your children. Use age-appropriate topics and examples to help them understand the dangers. Additionally, consider giving then a list of do’s and don’ts, such as…
- Say something if someone is bothering you online.
- Tell an adult about safety concerns.
- Tell people where you live or go to school.
- Provide personal information such as your age or birthday.
- Ever agree to meet someone that you met online.
- Post or say anything that you wouldn’t want the world to know about.
4 – Stay Involved
As a parent, Internet safety should not be a one time discussion or topic. You must stay involved! Know what apps your children are using. In fact, express an interest in their games and activities. This will help you stay connected to their online activity while also nurturing your relationship with them.
Summary of Internet Safety Tips for Parents
Ultimately, keeping your kids safe requires a combination of precautions and education. Built-in and third-party tools help you monitor their activities and set boundaries while they are young, but your communication and involvement will give them the skills to stay safe when other measures are not available. The Internet can be a dangerous place, but it’s also filled with entertaining and educational resources that can help your children learn and grow. Find ways to leverage the good while mitigating the bad.