How to Keep Your Children Safe on the Internet
Realistically, even though, as a parent, it may feel much easier just to ban your children from using the internet entirely, at school and in college alike, they may well be slightly behind the times as they grow.
So, you know your child needs to be part of the online generation, but you are petrified that you could start talking to the wrong sorts of people and clicking on the wrong types of links? Never fear because here is how to keep your children safe on the internet.
Surf the Internet Together
First and foremost, your children are far more likely to make sensible decisions and, indeed, grow up with a degree of independence if you do not provide them anything overtly obvious which they feel they need to rebel against.
Browse the internet together, taking an interest in the latest obsession or music band your child is into and generally make the internet a place for the whole family. Additionally, you could also help them to recognize misinformation, content that would simply not interest them (unsuitable websites) and generally direct them to reputable and trustworthy websites.
Create Their Own Profiles
Streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime make it ridiculously easy for you to control what your child is watching when you are not in the room, simply by offering the option to create their own profile.
When your child launches such streaming platforms, they will need to click on their own name and profile picture, rather than the more adult-tailored generic family one, which you will have preset rules and restrictions as appropriate.
Just make sure you password-protect the other profiles, as otherwise you are likely to be wasting your time, so during a sleepover, for example, and the night is all about pizza and streaming movies, there is no need to be constantly checking up on them.
Be a Good Role Model Online
There would be little to no point spending time teaching your children to enjoy the internet safely and allow their creative juices to flow if, as soon as they enter the room, you close down your adults-only website and shiftily return to an old Word document.
Instead, unless you are entirely on your own and there is no danger of your child catching even the smallest glimpse of the screen, be a good role model and use the internet in the same way in which you are encouraging them to.
Privacy on Social Media
For younger children, this may well not be a consideration you need to think about yet, but sooner or later, your children will want their own accounts on social media, namely Instagram and TikTok.
It is absolutely imperative that you ensure that the privacy settings are checked in detail and that you erect the highest possible security walls around your child’s content, including photographs and videos.
In addition, teach your child about the dangers of sharing too much on social media and remind them that whatever they post, it is there for life (even if they think they have deleted it).