Internet Safety for Children: 6 Ways to Keep Kids Safe Online

Nowadays, children seem to be even more internet-knowledgeable and tech-savvy than adults. They can navigate through complex applications, video games, and the latest gadgets. While this is great in this evolving digital era, it also brings the concerns of internet safety for children. 

The online space, as we may all agree, is a hub for cyberbullying, inappropriate content, and online predators. As it’s our responsibility to care for our younger ones, it’s only natural that we protect them from these digital vices. So in this article, we will discuss ways to keep kids safe online using methods such as parental controls. Whether you’re a parent, guardian, or just an older sibling to kids, this post can be helpful for you.

How Parental Controls Work

Internet safety for children

Parental control is a program that enables you to protect your child from the negative impacts of electronic devices. It can be done in several ways such as limiting or restricting access to certain types of content, monitoring screen time usage, or setting online time limits. Setting up parental controls is quite easy but highly effective in securing devices.

One common way is to use built-in controls within the device. The privacy settings on mobile phones and video game consoles that restrict some activities are a good example. You could also set up a family-safe internet filter to keep an eye on all home devices and how they’re used.

Whichever method you choose, you can integrate other devices your child has access to. You can connect and monitor the family computer, game console, and cell phone. By employing internet safety for children in your home, you can protect your kids from online addiction, cyberbullying, hacking, and bad influence.

Many devices come with parental controls that allow you to protect your family from these online vices. However, if you don’t know how to set it up, check the device manual. Also, remember to create a strong password (one that your child won’t be able to crack) and include restrictions you feel are best for your little ones.

Internet Safety for Children: Why Kids Need Online Protection 

Internet safety for children

It’s important to protect your kid’s privacy on the internet because their data and personal information can be used for harmful purposes, such as cyberbullying, identity theft, and inappropriate content.

The findings of a study show that 66% of parents in the United States find parenting harder compared to 20 years ago. Most of the reasons for this is as a result of smartphones and social media. Thus, the solution to this is internet safety for children. Here are other reasons why parental controls are important for protecting your kids on the internet space: 

READ ALSO  9 Reasons Why Your Phone Battery Doesn't Last Long

Protection Against Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is a form of intimidation, psychological trauma and offensive acts that takes place online. Bullying comes in various forms, including online threats, harassment spreading, false rumors, and targeting or embarrassing a victim.

It is usually done via social media posts, group chats, and/or private messages, amongst others. Online bullying isn’t restricted to age but can be especially very harmful for children. In fact, a recent study in the U.S. reported that around one in five children from ages 9 to 12 has been involved in cyberbullying; either as a target, a witness, or as the bully themselves. 

Cyberbullying is represented in various forms such as posting embarrassing pictures or videos, sending threatening messages, and suppressing opinions. In some cases, the victim may fall into psychological disorders such as depression and low self-esteem, amongst other mental illnesses. 

Protection Against Harmful or Inappropriate Contents

The internet is marred with inappropriate content, including hate speeches, pornography, vulgar language, and immoral images. When your kids come across such illicit content, it affects their minds in a significant way. Unfortunately, most times, they may come across them accidentally through Pop-ups, for instance.

However, integrating internet safety for children may significantly reduce the chances of your kids coming across such messages. Parental control programs are built to detect, prevent and delete any suspicious messages from kids.

Safeguarding Personal Information

Not all information about your kids is meant for the public. Data such as their age, residence, and full name can put them in danger of identity theft. However, some children may not realize this and may be comfortable with sharing them.

For example, a Facebook friend may ask them for their phone number or residential address; sharing this may expose the child to cyber threats. Even subtle activities like sharing an image of them in front of their school could be detrimental. Once harmful actors are able to find their location, they may carry out some dangerous acts such as kidnapping, tracking their location, or carrying harmful threats.

Internet Safety for Children: How To Protect Your Kids Online

Internet safety for children

1. Set Up Parental Controls on Their Devices 

Most devices and computers come equipped with built-in parental controls that can easily be activated. To set up parental controls on iPhones and iPads, you can use the “screen time” feature provided by Apple. This feature allows you to manage and monitor your child’s device usage.

READ ALSO  What To Do If Your Phone Has A Virus

Parental controls can include privacy settings, content blockers, and even specific controls for services like YouTube. You can also utilize Google SafeSearch for search filtering. Additionally, there are paid parental control software options available for more advanced monitoring.

For phones, you can set up parental controls through the Google Play app by accessing the Family section in the Settings menu. Here, you can turn on Parental controls, set a PIN for security, and customize the type of content you want to filter.

On Windows devices, parental controls can be set up by navigating to the Settings menu and accessing the Accounts section. From there, you can customize parental controls to create a safe online environment for your children. Setting up these controls is a proactive way to ensure internet safety for children.

2. Monitor Their Online Activities 

Regularly supervise your child’s online activities, keeping track of the websites they visit, apps they use, and people they chat with. Use parental control features to block inappropriate content and set limitations on what they can access.

It’s important to also watch out for signs of cyberbullying, as kids can easily fall victim to online harassment. By monitoring their online behavior, you can quickly address any issues that arise and offer their support.

Sadly, there are predators online who may try to take advantage of children. But, by staying vigilant and monitoring interactions, parents can identify any suspicious behavior and protect their kids from potential harm.

Teenagers may also engage in risky behaviors such as sharing inappropriate content. By providing guidance and supervision, parents can educate their children on the consequences of their actions and prevent them from making poor choices online.

Excessive use of screens can interfere with real-life social connections. By monitoring internet usage, parents can help their children find a balance between online and offline interactions, promoting healthy social development.

3. Keep Their Devices Updated 

Devices are routinely updated to ensure security measures are in place. While it may seem bothersome, these updates are necessary to guard against potential security threats. It is vital to regularly update devices with the latest software versions or patches to protect against hackers and other risks.

READ ALSO  15 Social Media Security Tips

4. Ensure They Visit Only Secured Sites 

If your child needs to do online research, they may visit multiple websites with just one search query. To ensure their safety, always check the website’s security by looking at the address bar. If the web address begins with “http,” make sure there is an “s” at the end, indicating “https.” This means the website has a security certificate to protect visitor information. Additionally, look for a padlock icon as another indicator of a secure website.

5. Set Guidelines for Internet Usage 

Create a set of rules for the family’s internet usage. Set boundaries on screen time, determine what websites are appropriate, and outline safe online practices. Include children in the process of establishing these guidelines to encourage them to take ownership and responsibility for their online behavior.

6. Discuss the Need For Internet Safety with Your Kids

In addition to keeping an eye on your home internet usage (like we discussed in the second point), it’s crucial to have open conversations with your children about internet safety. This helps them develop good online habits both at home and when they’re browsing elsewhere. 

Furthermore, remind your children about the importance of not sharing personal information and educate them about the dangers of cyberbullying. Likewise, assure them that you are always available to support and guide them through any online challenges they may face.

Final Thoughts 

We trust that this guide has provided you with a better understanding of the various risks present on the internet, as well as strategies to safeguard your child. Open communication is key, so ensure your child feels comfortable approaching you with any concerns. 

Do you have any additional suggestions for ensuring internet safety for children? Is there something we may have overlooked? Share your thoughts in the comments below. If you know other parents seeking guidance on this topic, feel free to share this article with them. Stay vigilant and thank you for taking the time to read.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *