Parents are good at taking care of their young ones in the offline world, but what happens when they go online? There’s no doubt that your kids will be using the internet in the years to come, and learning to avoid the dangers lurking online from an early age is a must.
The internet is an endless source of knowledge and entertainment, but it is also a place with bullies, explicit content, and predators. Being open about these topics is the first step to teaching your kids about staying safe on the web.
Here are five other tips on how to increase your youngsters’ online security:
1. Talk to your kid about online safety
When your kid begins using the internet, talk to them about what they do online. Hopefully, they will be open to you about their favorite apps, games, and websites. Don’t hesitate to discuss proper online behavior and remind them that what they do online could stay there forever. It includes the way they interact with other people online, so make sure they understand why it’s important to stay polite and respectful to others.
Furthermore, ensure your young ones understand the concept of privacy. Every photo they post on social media could reveal more than they think, but kids are simply not aware of that. They should be able to understand that posting their address, phone number, or even school name, could endanger their safety because you never know who could be watching their profiles.
2. Learn about parental controls
While many parents shy away from controlling their kids’ online activity, it is good to know that web browsers and devices have a whole set of tools that can help them make the internet a safer place for their little ones.
For instance, Google filters can block explicit websites so that your kid wouldn’t get exposed to violent or sexual content. DNS VPN can provide you with a faster internet connection, so accessing sites will be quicker if you need to make parental control changes.
Most basic parental control tools are free, but if you want a complete overview of your kids’ online activity, you could consider purchasing one of the apps designed to follow their every step. These apps will give you an insight into what websites they visit frequently, who they talk to, what they send to other users, and more.
3. Monitor the online time
Kids are spending more and more time online, which can lead to upsetting consequences. Excessive screen time could have a negative impact on their performance in school, behavior, or social life. Young kids and teens shouldn’t spend more than two hours on their devices daily, except for schoolwork.
Talk to your kids and come to a mutual agreement about when they will use their phone, tablet, or computer. You can split those two hours into four 30-minute sessions. Try to come to an agreement that one day of the week is completely internet-free. Encourage them to do other activities that are not online-based.
4. Use a VPN
Using a VPN can be beneficial for both you as a parent and your young one. After all, they might start using public Wi-Fi at school soon, and that means someone could gain access to their information. Installing a VPN on your home router can improve the online security of all devices connected to that network.
VPN and DNS are both excellent services with different features that are valuable in terms of online safety. VPN can encrypt the data that is sent or received through your home Wi-Fi, while DNS speeds up the load time on certain websites. If you are unsure which cybersecurity apps you should install on your devices, VPN and DNS are pretty good candidates.
5. Ask your kid about their online friends
Grownups know that people lie about themselves online, but kids may be too trusting. They quickly make friends online, especially in video games, and continue chatting with other players or exchanging social media handles.
You, as a parent, can also monitor your kid’s friend list by adding the same people and checking if they are who they say they are. Also, keep an eye on the content on your kid’s social media profile and see who is commenting on their posts.