Internet and Kids: Survival Guide
My two little monkeys are at an age where they’re dabbling with internet, playing games, using Skype and it’s sometimes worrying. I’m not the most technical minded of people so this kind of advice is invaluable. Online safety is just as important as safety in every day life. I thought this article was particularly useful and informative. I hope it gives you some helper pointers.
The current generation of children will grow up online, becoming far more knowledgeable about this promising new frontier than we can ever hope to be. But before they reach that stage they’re going to make a lot of mistakes, and the net can be a dangerous place to make them. It’s for this reason that so many parents are worried about their children’s online safety, desperate for a way to make learning to use this vital resource just that little bit less risky.
Here are four steps you can take to safeguard your child online. Not every step may be for you – in fact it may be that your ideal lies in your own unique combination – but every step is something available right now that will make your children safer.
1. Discuss the risks on their terms
For any safety measures to work, your child needs to understand why they’re there. Knowing why certain things are dangerous helps your children develop their own judgement, so they can be safe even when the risk is something you didn’t foresee.
Remember, children lack experience of the world’s darker side. They don’t understand the potential dangers of the net, so focus on the things they can understand and give them a sense of responsibility and agency about avoiding them. Make it crystal clear that harmful content will often be made to seem tempting and safe, and that good web behaviour doesn’t just protect them but the whole family.
2. Install great antivirus software
Every computer needs a decent antivirus software; in fact every device that connects to the internet should have some kind of protection. Antivirus software will steer your kids away from risky content and outright block things like viruses and dangerous websites. Most examples of antivirus software will also come with additional features you can use to increase safety.
3. Restrict content with parental controls
Antivirus software usually comes with some kind of parental control system. This allows you to define what is and is not appropriate for your child to see. It can’t catch everything, but it does make it much less likely that your child will accidentally visit somewhere they’re not safe.
4. Monitor web behaviour
Many makes of antivirus software allow you to track where your children have been online – browsers have their own ‘history’ folders, but kids will very quickly figure out how to get around these. You can use this to track and steer your children’s behaviour or as an observation system they know is in place.
Whether you choose to follow all of these steps or just a few, always remember that communication is the most important protection you can give your child. Knowledge allows them to adapt on the fly, and an informed and cautious user is safer than one who has all the protective software you could hope for but no idea what to watch out for.
This is a guest post.