Keeping Your Children Safe on the Internet
Children and teenagers represent the biggest majority of Internet consumers nowadays. Besides the numerous advantages that the Internet offers, it is also full of dangers, and children can easily be exposed to malicious content. As a parent, it is your responsibility to protect your children from the dangers of the Internet, and there are a few measures that you can take to ensure that the web is a safe place for them.
The first thing that you can do is to have a discussion with your child and determine for what reasons they access the Internet. Instead of trying to stop them using the Internet, talk to them about their online activities. Ask them what they like, who they are talking to online, and which are their favourite websites. You could also encourage your child to always tell a parent or teacher when they are browsing the Internet. By showing a genuine interest in the types of sites your kids like to visit you can monitor without playing ‘big brother’.
There are certain parental control and antivirus software online, which can restrict your child’s access to the Internet by filtering the addresses of websites, as well as blocking websites with malicious content. Browsing the internet with your child and looking together at things that might be of interest to them will help them understand what is permitted online and get a better understanding of what the internet has to offer.
It is recommended that you keep the computer in a room where everyone has access to it, and not in your child’s room. One of the biggest dangers that the Internet entails is getting into contact with strangers. Teach your child to never give out personal information (home address, phone number) or pictures, and to never meet with a person they have been corresponding with online in real life, without your consent. Account details and passwords must not be disclosed either.
Many parents are concerned about inappropriate messages arriving in their children’s inboxes. One way to avoid them is to configure two email addresses for your child: a private address, used for correspondence, and a public address, used when subscribing to emails or newsletters, or joining forums. All the spam emails received on this address should be filtered by a parent, who can delete the inappropriate messages before they are then, seen by the child.
Teaching kids internet safety in terms of the sites they visit, the things they search for, protecting their information and themselves and enjoying the internet is a lifelong skill and one that they will never regret learning.