With just a few mouse clicks, your child can be whisked away to a foreign country, watch a webcam of their favorite zoo animal or infect your entire computer with a non-repairable virus. The last option doesn’t sound too enticing! Use these safety tips to ensure safe internet behavior:
Understand how it works. In order for your child to understand the danger, they need to be aware of how the internet works. Before they can be turned loose to play, make sure they know what not to click, who not to speak to and what sites are okay to visit.
Check the history. This can be done two ways: tell them you will be checking the history or don’t tell them and get a real vision of what they are doing online! Either way, it is always good to check (and clear!) the browser history to ensure they are not going to any dangerous sites.
Limit time. The best way to reduce internet risk is limit the amount of time your kids are on it. If you use a tablet or phone, there are apps that monitor usage and allow you to set the limits.
Visit approved sites only. Make a list of approved, kid-friendly sites that they may visit. Thoroughly inspect them yourself to ensure they have no pop-up ads or other risky links that your child may accidentally click on.
Ask the school IT. If you are in doubt about a site or would like good suggestions, ask someone from your child’s IT department. Most schools will not let the students access sites that pose a risk, and they probably will not mind getting you the list of approved sites!
You do not have to drag out your sleuth hat and magnifying glass to monitor this situation… be open and honest with your children about the dangers and let them know you will be watching!