When you consider Zoom classes, homework research, posting on social media, and online gaming systems, your kids are online more than you realize.
Sometimes, kids start wandering away from where they’re supposed to be. Educate yourself about online safety. The more you know about the digital world, the more you’re aware of what the risks are and how to avoid them.
From installing parental controls to keeping a watchful eye on their activity, there’s a lot you can do to help your kids thrive online during the months ahead.
Here’s a parental checklist:
· Know their browser history
It’s very easy to see which websites your kids have spent time on recently by checking their browser history. It’s indisputable. Most experts suggest telling your children you will be doing this. It’s a good way to curb curiosity about inappropriate content.
· Have ‘the talk’ about online safety
Set boundaries to your children know what they’re allowed to do online. Talk specifically about what to do when they are directed to (by other kids) or stumble upon inappropriate content. Encourage your children to come to you with their questions.
· Install parental control software
Install family-friendly parental control software such as Qustodio, OpenDNS, or FamilyShield to block unsafe or inappropriate content from your kid’s devices, including phones and online gaming systems. Be sure they share emails and texts with you too.
· Set time limits
If you’ve installed parental controls on your kid’s device, you may be able to help keep your children safe by directly limiting their screen time.
· Print out and share a list of rules
According to Parents magazine, police, educators and child psychologists recommend the following:
- Computers and other devices can only be used in the public areas of your home
- No social mediauntil after homework is finished
- Never give out personal information online like your phone number, address or current location
- Never meet in person with anyone you met online
- Always tell a trusted adult, such as a parent or a teacher, if something you see online makes you uncomfortable
- Do not download anything without checking first with your parent or guardian
- Be open to talking about your online activity
- No devices in bedrooms or during mealtimes
- No screen time one hour before bed
- Talk to them about what “publicly available” photos and content mean to their safety
- Make a plan so that your private information is secureand your child feels safe during their time online.
The following resources can help you and your kids safely navigate the web:
- National Cyber Security Alliance-sponsored website
- The Department of Homeland Security’s website Think.Connect.offers educational materials from K-8 to college years on how to keep safe online and what to look out for.