How to Keep Kids Safe Online This Summer
It is officially the first day of summer! School’s out and that means lots of free time which will ultimately be spent online! Here at CyberArmed, we have come up with some ways to help keep your kids safe online for summer (and beyond)!
The Internet can be a scary place and its impossible to constantly monitor what your children are doing on there and what they have access to. However, there are both innovative technology and old-fashioned based techniques help you be in control of what your children have access to.
Understand your kids are tech savvy
One of the biggest challenges is realizing that children know how to use technology in ways we simply cannot imagine. Whether it is through mobile devices, gaming systems or even the family computer, kids are able to get online and communicate with people and access content like never before. One of the most fundamental ways to start with online security is to ask your kids the following questions:
- What is your favorite website?
- How do you chat with your friends online?
- What sites do you use to find out new things?
These answer to these questions will help you begin to learn just how savvy your kids are.
Monitor and Lockdown
With an awareness that kids are internet savvy, the next step is to start securing your technologies. First, start with your internet browser (such as Internet Explorer, Chrome or Firefox), most have built in parental controls that you can easily turn on. With that, you can monitor what websites they have and do not have access to as well as the hours that they are on the internet. This list by HowToGeek.com provides a detailed step by step guide for implementing these controls for your home network.
Enable content advisor on Internet Explorer. This allows only content that you deem acceptable to pop up. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to implement it.
Google (Search Engine Security)
Google provides a safe browsing feature. Using the latest Chrome or Firefox, this feature is on by default. Also, set your homepage to http://www.safesearchkids.com/ which is a great tool (It's Google but made just for kids) to help kids search safely. They even have safe images, safe video, safe wiki as well!
Google safe search also has numerous great articles and resources for parents and teens, on ways to stay safe on social media, information on cyber bullying and so much more. A great example is listed here.
Still speaking of Google, they also have this great game for kids that teaches them all about internet safety called Interland. This is an interactive way for kids to learn internet safety. The first stop in the game is even called Kind Kingdom.
Let's face it, social media is just a way of life and it is something kids are involved with to stay in touch with friends. Major platforms such Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Musical.ly, are popular online communities your kids are most likely on. As a parent it is critical you discuss the importance of security when using these technologies because one wrong post or one wrong friend could negatively impact your kid's future. As a parent, there are many ways for you to get involved.
- Be their "friend" or "follow" them online, encourage other family members and close friends to do the same, remember it takes a village.
- Remind them that anything they put online is there FOREVER, as well as the fact that it could affect jobs and college admissions
- Tell them that not everyone is who they appear to be online, if you wouldn't do it in real life, then don't do it behind a computer screen. Also, remind them not to friend or talk to strangers.
- Have your computer or device in the family room or kitchen, so you're able to monitor what they're doing.
- Let them know that you're here for them and they can come to you if they find anything that makes them uncomfortable.
- Remind them not to share their passwords with anyone and if they do that they should change them (as well as change passwords regularly).
Finally, my last piece of advice is something my father always told me growing up "Don't post anything online unless you would want your Grandmother to see it." That always had me think twice before posting something.