The age of technology, for all its wonders, has also brought with it a host of new and dangerous threats to your child’s innocence.
With predators lurking around the web and easy access to vast amounts of mature content, Internet is not a safe place for your young ones to venture into alone.
Your constant and vigilant supervision is a dire necessity to protect your kid’s privacy and well being.
Here are 5 simple yet effective methods that can help you make sure that when your kids surf the web, they are not vulnerable to harmful content.
- Educate Yourself
The first step, they say, is often the hardest. If today’s technology seems mind boggling to you then we have some bad news! As hard as it may be, you will have to educate and update yourself about the technology that your kids use.
Now this may sound challenging but it’s really not that hard. You don’t need to become a tech wizard overnight. But you should be familiar with the devices that your kids have access to and you should be able to effectively monitor their activities on the Internet.
- Utilize the Parental Controls Feature
Almost all devices and gadgets these days come equipped with parental control features. Whether it’s your T.V. or Computer, this feature to control the kind of content your kid is exposed to, can prove very useful.
If you have children of different ages then it would be a good idea to set up different accounts for each of them. You can implement varying degrees of parental control depending upon the educational requirements of each child.
In addition to this, you could install content filtering software, such as CyberPatrol, Net Nanny, and GuardiaNet etc. that blocks all kinds of mature content.
- Don’t let Your Kids Share Private Information on the Web
Teach your kids that they should never give out private information on the Internet. This includes never sharing a phone number, e-mail, home or school address and especially personal photos, with anyone on the web.
If you let your kids chat with their school friends online then set up identity proof screen names for them, which don’t give away personal information. Always check up on their online conversations regularly and monitor their chat sessions as often as you can.
- Keep Your Eye on Them
As simple as it sounds, this particular step is easier said than done. But it is also the most important one. Despite parental controls and your continued warnings, kids are likely to stumble upon some inappropriate content sooner or later if they are allowed to wander the web in private.
So, make it a rule around the house that they can only surf the web in the living room or somewhere you can keep a constant eye on them. Make sure that you can see the screen of the device they are using and that their entire web exploring time is monitored.
- Be Aware of the Online Games Your Kids Play
Online games are significant contributors to exposing young kids to violence and other mature content. If your kids are hooked on online gaming, make sure they are only allowed to engage in age appropriate games.
Brush up on how video game ratings work to find out whether a particular game is suitable for your kid. A game with a rating of E+10, may look harmless enough, but it is not suitable for your 7 year old.
Follow these 5 steps and you will be well on your way to ensuring that your kids enjoy technology in safe and productive ways.
The hardest part however, is to follow through with these practices constantly. You can never let up on the scrutiny until your kids are old enough. A single oversight might undo all your efforts.
It is also important to maintain open and honest communication with your kids. Make sure that they don’t feel stifled by all the scrutiny and try to help them understand the necessity of these steps and the negative consequences of their absence.