If you’re like me, and you use your kids as free tech support whenever you need to configure your wireless router or your TV to play funny cat videos, then it’s probably tempting to let the kids take care of their own online security, as well. That could be a big mistake.
While your kids might be experts at the technology, they’re not experts at evaluating risk.
You already know that, without guidance, children can be easily manipulated into smoking, drinking, speeding, bullying, and, of course, jumping off of cliffs because all their friends are doing it.
Mistakes can cause a lot of damage — everything from expensive ransomware infections, identity theft, loss of friendships to even putting your child’s life at risk.
Just as in the off-line world, you need to provide guidance, set boundaries, and, depending on your child’s age and maturity level, implement some safeguards. You also need to be aware of where the threats are coming from.
10 Things You Can Do Right Away
1. Make YouTube safe for your kids
2. Help your kids set the privacy controls on their social media accounts
3. Install anti-virus on your computers and mobile devices
4. Set up separate accounts for your kids on your computers
5. Set up separate accounts for your kids on your mobile devices
6. Secure your gaming systems
7. Consider using kid-safe browsers and search engines
8. Lock in apps for youngest children
9. Consider using an app that limits the time your child spends online
10. Make sure your kids are only using safe chat rooms
Teach, Educate and Talk with Your Children
11. Teach your children not to respond to messages from strangers
12. Educate your children about the risks of “sexting”
13. Warn your kids about file sharing
14. Warn your kids about online polls and surveys
15. Warn your kids about getting too close to strangers
16. Help your children deal with cyberbullying
17. Set a good example
18. Set rules about what your kids can share online
19. Add your kids as “Friend”
20. Set limits on how much time your children can spend online
21. Additional resources
Internet Matters: Resources for parents looking to keep children safe online, with age-specific how-to guides, free apps, and device safety checklists. https://www.internetmatters.org/
Family Online Safety Institute: Parenting guides and news and reports about online safety issues. https://www.fosi.org/
Safe, Smart & Social: Social media training guides and safety tips for parents and educators. https://safesmartsocial.com/