Protect your Kids Online

Remember the days when kids used to gather at the corner store for a soda and just hang out for a while? The Internet has become the corner store. Nowadays kids hang out in chat rooms and have the chance to play online games with people across the globe. Technology is a wonderful thing and has many perks, but there are some downsides to the online world. One of the biggest threats to a child’s safety is predators who pretend to be just another child.

The world at large is a scary place and it is nice to think that your children are safe and sound while at home on the computer or other device. Unfortunately, they are not always as safe as you think are. It really pays for parents to take precautionary measures to keep their children safe while online. 

Parental controls on software

Most newer operating systems offer parental controls. Since each operating system is different, consult the instructions and the owners manual provided with the software. 

It is worth noting that some parental control programs will occasionally block websites that are actually safe for children.  Due to this, it is wise to compile your own list and double check it against the program and unblock websites accordingly.

Personal monitoring

It is sometimes easier to just trust that your kids are being safe online when you have parental controls in place. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Sometimes kids can visit safe websites but still be exposed to unsafe people. 

Check on your kids frequently, know what websites they are visiting and who they are talking too. Remember that many games nowadays are violent in nature and often coincide with popular action films. If you do not want your children playing these types of games then you will have to personally monitor their activity.

Know online contacts

As scary as it is, there are predators lurking on kid friendly websites, in chat rooms and in games. Check your children’s friends and contacts lists often and question names you do not recognize. Talk to your kids about the potential danger of “friending” people they do not know in the real world.

A good option is only allowing your kids to be friends with relatives and people they know in person. Set their social networking profiles to private, that way strangers cannot see it. 

Limit online time

One way to help ensure your children’s safety is setting a limit on how long they can play games or be online. The sad fact is that the more time kids spend online, the easier they can become targets from unsavory people/groups. Another form of predator that has invaded cyberspace are bullies. These bullies will follow kids from game to game or website to website and harass them just like in real life.

Limiting your kids online time also ensure that they can interact with real life friends and family members. Children need fresh air and face to face contact with people, away from the glow of a electronic device.

Parents have a full time job trying to keep their children safe in the real world and in the virtual one (online). One key to accomplishing this safety goal is regular conversations with their kids. Let them know what the rules and expectations are each time they login to their account. Other options include parental controls on software and personal monitoring. 

No parent likes to play the “bad person” but when it comes to their children’s safety, they do it. Being a parent is tough and so is being a kid. They are constantly at war over something, this is the nature of the child-parent relationship. If there is one thing you can be on the same side about, make it safety both in the real world and online.