While the Internet can be used for many wonderful things, letting your children freely soar in cyberspace will definitely expose them to a virtual universe of images and information, some of which you most probably prefer they do not see. Below are some tips that can be used to regulate Internet safety in your home.
- Use parental control software. K-9 Web Protection is a site that offers free protective software that you can easily download onto your computer and/or smartphone devices.
- Explain to your children that unfavorable posts or pictures of themselves on the Internet may affect their chances when applying for a job or to a school, or when they are seeking to date. Have your children use privacy settings on social media sites, but explain that once a picture, video, or word is online, there is a great likelihood that it belongs to the public – forever. Show how the ability to take a screen shot enables one to send an image to multitudes of people. Even apps that allow one to take quickly-expiring photos are not foolproof, as one can screen shot the image and forward on and on…
- As you make it clear that there are few secrets in this day and age, you may want to warn your children that you periodically check the history of their searches. But be aware that setting up a restrictive atmosphere at home is not foolproof, as there is easy access to the universe of the internet just a few steps out your front door.
- Understand that kids of any age may feel the need to keep up with friends and therefore want to visit sites their friends visit. They may also just be naturally curious. Try to establish comfortable, open, and close communication about these things, so you can be involved in shaping and guiding your children to having healthy mindsets when approaching all that is available on the internet.
- Caution your family members not to communicate with people they don’t know, as identities can easily be masked by a computer / phone screen.
- Make it clear that you are there to help if they encounter any form of cyber-bullying.