It’s tough! We are currently juggling the responsibilities of parent, teacher, and entertainer all the while working from home. But there are online predators on the loose and we are more vulnerable to these online dangers than ever.
With the kids homeschooling and keeping themselves entertained with their tablets or gaming units, it’s natural to about worry how much screen time they are having along with the online dangers on who is contacting them whilst in the virtual world.
Cyber Security expert Melissa Dempsey has some great tips from on how parents can keep our children safe whilst online at home.
Schedule screen time limits for kids and devices
You might feel like your kids shuffle from one screen to the next throughout the day — spending time with smartphones, tablets, laptops, and TVs. You might consider limiting and enforcing the number of hours per day or week your kids can use devices, the types of devices they can use, and what types of activities they can do or programs they can watch. Talk with your kids so they can start understanding media literacy and practicing self-regulation. It’s also a good way to discover what they like doing online, as well as suggest new TV shows and apps for them to try. You might schedule a regular family night that’s screen-free.
Monitor what your kids are doing online
You might decide to let your kids get their own email address, set up social media accounts, and use the internet unsupervised. If so, it’s a good idea to check in on what they’re doing. Let your kids know you’re going to monitor their devices and why. Ask them to share their account passwords with you. Let them know it’s not about snooping, it’s about safety. It can help to know what your kids are texting, downloading, searching, and watching. That knowledge could be used to open a line of communication. For instance, your children might deal with an issue they don’t know how to bring up. Or they may not know when they’ve encountered something unsafe online. If they happen to run into inappropriate content or online behavior, you can talk with them about safety and what to do. Once your kids have a better grasp on how to safely use the internet, you might consider monitoring them less frequently.
Set rules about using social media
Social media can be challenging for teens. On the one hand, it can help strengthen relationships. On the other, it can also distract them from in-person communication, potentially cause low self-esteem, and expose them to cyberbullying. The effects of social media vary greatly.
Collaborating on a group project over Google Hangouts or bonding with a new friend over Instagram can be beneficial. Scrolling through Snapchat for hours or dealing with Twitter trolls usually is not a great use of time. Talk with your kids about smart social media habits and the best ways to use their devices. Encourage them to pay attention to how they feel before, during, and after they use social media. Talk about what is making them feel good or not-so-good. You can help them resolve issues, set social media limits, and use privacy features and content filters.
Stay on top of information shared online
Often, information is currency online. It can be a trade-off for services when browsing the internet, downloading an app, or signing up for a new online service. The risk? Children could unintentionally reveal too much if they do not understand how information is shared. Get familiar with the websites your kids visit, the social media they use, and the apps they download. Read reviews. Check out the site’s terms and conditions to see what kind of information the platform tracks and stores.
You can also download the apps, play around with them, and “friend” your child. That way, you can occasionally browse what your kids are publicly sharing online.
Limit access to websites
Landing on an inappropriate website can be as easy as missing a keystroke or clicking on the wrong link. Depending on your child’s age and level of maturity, you might consider setting up restrictions on websites and the types of downloads you deem inappropriate. Continue teaching your kids how to evaluate trustworthy websites.
Get FREE Professional Help
Norton LifeLock have made protecting your kids from online dangers a little easier with their Norton Family package 6 months free and no credit card needed to help keep our minds at ease while our children are online.
The package allows us as Parents to:
- Makes the Web safer for your kids to explore – by keeping you informed of which sites your kids are visiting, and blocking harmful or inappropriate sites
- Helps your kids balance time spent online by scheduling screen time limits for their device usage
- Provides insights into the search terms and videos that interest your kids and flags unsafe behavior so you can discuss it with them
- Get detailed reports on what your kids are doing online, right in your Inbox or on the Parent Portal
What are you doing to protect your kids from online dangers? Tell us in the comments below.