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Last Updated on August 30, 2016 by Diane Hoffmaster
All parents should familiarize themselves with an assortment of online safety tips for children given the amount of questionable content that is floating around on the internet. When my children were little it was relatively easy to keep them safe. They stayed with me at all times...I was there to catch them if they fell and kiss any and all booboos that needed attention. Now that they are teens it is a lot harder to keep them safe. They are not with me 24/7 anymore. They want to go off with their friends without mom trailing along behind them watching their backs. They want to read more and more adult themed books, listen to music with lyrics I just pray they don't understand, and they are online every single day. Between school research projects and social media they are exposed to an awful lot of stuff online and not all of it is kid friendly. Keeping kids safe online is a big responsibility and I feel like I am constantly struggling to keep up with the changes in technology. Hopefully these online safety tips for children will help you keep your own kids safe from the assortment of bullies, predators and porn sites that are lurking on the internet.
Online Safety Tips for Children No Parent Should Ignore
1. Keep the computer in a common area: Children do not need privacy when on the internet. Too many things can be done in the privacy of a bedroom without the possibility of an adult looking over their shoulder. Keep computers out of the bedroom and set up a computer desk in the living room instead.
2. Maintain access to their online accounts: Keeping kids safe online means knowing exactly what they are doing on the internet and who they are chatting with. Make sure that you are given user names and passwords for social media accounts and email programs. Log in periodically so you can see what sort of language is being used and the types of pictures being uploaded.
3. Educate yourself about basic computer knowledge. None of these online safety tips for children will be beneficial if you are completely computer illiterate. Knowing how to check the recent history of your browser is the easiest way to track the websites your kids are visiting. And if someone besides YOU clears the search history that is a red flag that your kids may be looking for something online that they shouldn't be!
4. Talk to your kids about the importance of keeping personal information out of their online profiles. The first thing I did when my daughter started her Instagram account was to remove the name of the elementary school from her profile. She knew not to use her real name but didn't understand why her school shouldn't be listed on there. And many social media sites allow for private accounts so that only certain people can follow them and must be approved. Instagram, Twitter and Facebook all have privacy settings that you should explore when setting up accounts.
5. Use a program for blocking inappropriate material. There are many software programs and firewalls that will block any material that is suspicious from being clicked on. It can have it's drawbacks, however. Searching for 'breast cancer' may come up as red flag just because the word 'breast' is on the web page. Look at user ratings and decide which one of them is best for your situation.
The world is a scary place, especially for kids. The Internet has opened up whole new worlds for them, but that access is not without risk. I hope these online safety tips for children will help you keep your kids protected as they navigate the information superhighway. For those of you with daughters, I am sharing my affiliate link for a book called The Smart Girl's Guide to Privacy: Practical Tips for Staying Safe Online. It is a quick read, gets 5 stars on Amazon and both parents AND kids should read it and discuss it!
Do you have any other online safety tips for children to share?
Diane is a professional blogger and nationally certified pharmacy technician at Good Pill Pharmacy. She has two college aged kids, one husband and more pets than she will admit to. She earned her BS in Microbiology at the University of New Hampshire but left her career in science to become a stay at home mom. Years of playing with LEGO and coloring with crayons had her craving a more grown up purpose to her life and she began blogging and freelance writing full time. You can learn more about her HERE.