A small geek, hacker boy addicted to the screen

How to Keep Children Safe Online!

by Paul Osei-Owusu

By no means is online safety and how to keep children safe online my wheelhouse. However, what I do best is find information and present it to make it palatable and easy to digest for a wider audience.

A few weeks back, I was presented with the results of my 10-year-old inquisitive mind. My son had decided that he could randomly conduct searches as he satisfies after conversating with mates around the same age.

I thought that I had built up sufficient barriers to negate this precise action, but this could not be far from the truth. In fact, I had built some barricades, just enough to resist a 6-year-old. In simple terms, I had been caught off-guard. My barricades did not consider that the modern child grows at the speed of light, and these barricades require continual maintenance to keep at bay the monstrous, actively growing inquisitive minds of children.

There are many perilous with technology for children and the sedentary nature these technologies can have on kids. Internet crime is gaining traction each day; it is expected to be a £4.6 trillion industry by 2021.

It is only natural for us to be concerned for our children with such a vast number. It is predicted that 8.5 million kids under 15 will be victims of internet crime in the next 3 years. However worrying this may appear, as parents, we need to stay vigilant and make sure that we keep our children safe. Many tools can help you monitor your child’s online activity and keep them safe.

My own experience with my child prompted me to look at ways in which I can keep my children safe online. I may be showing my age with this statement, ‘back in our times when we learned how to use the internet, we did not have to worry about its possible dangers.

Parents must learn about these dangers and how to keep their kids safe. Through my own endeavours to fast track my knowledge in this field, I have come up with a few tips that you can use right now to keep children safe online.

Install parental control software to keep children safe online

We all know that the internet is not a safe place for children and young minds. So, what can you do in keeping children safe online to prevent them from falling prey?

The best thing you can do is to install parental control software. These latest and advanced applications are designed to keep your family safe from internet threats and other perils. They can also limit the time your child spends on the web. Here’s how these programs protect your child:

  • They block adult content: Many times, kids accidentally land on inappropriate websites in their search results. You can keep such sites away from your child with parental control software.
  • They restrict access to social media platforms: The likes of online bullying occur on social networking websites where children spend hours chatting with friends and strangers. Parental control software allows you to either restrict or block access to such sites so that you can protect your kids.
  • They allow you to monitor online activity: You can use parental control software to track your kids’ online activities, including emails they send and receive, texting they do via instant messaging applications and more. This way, you can remotely watch them and easily keep your child safe online.

Set up the computer in a common area of your home

When it comes to keeping children safe online, the internet can be dangerous. Many kids will look for whatever they want on the internet with little regard for what is safe. As a parent, you have to keep them safe from the dangers that lurk online. Here are tips to help you protect your child online.

  • Set up the computer in a common area of your home so that you can know how your child uses it.
  • Create a user account for your child and one for yourself, too. This can help you control what your child sees when using the computer and who they communicate with online.
  • Set the privacy and security controls on websites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube to the highest level. Many websites have a “kids” version that is safer. Let your kids know that they should tell you immediately if they feel uncomfortable or pressured by anyone online.
  • Monitoring software is available online to track your child’s online activity and block inappropriate sites.
  • Use the child safety features available on your computer and Internet browsers. Web browsers have safety features and settings available that can help block certain types of content, such as pornography or violence, from being accessed by young eyes.
  • Check with your Internet provider to see if there are additional steps you can take to keep your family safe online.
  • Consider installing monitoring software. Some software allows parents to track and control their children’s activities on the internet, monitoring search terms used and sites visited and even blocking specific games that they feel are inappropriate for their children’s age level.

Young black girl surfing Internet on smartphone at table with coffee, need to keep children safe online

Keep checking in

The digital world changes quickly, so make sure you stay up-to-date with how your child uses technology. For example, you might want to check what they’re doing every now and then or ask them to show you something cool that they’ve found online. Also, keep talking about what they enjoy about the internet and what makes them feel uncomfortable – it will help you understand each other better.

Keep all devices in a shared space.

Some digital parenting experts believe that placing devices in a shared space allows parents to watch what their kids are doing online. You can also set house rules regarding the use of the internet and establish consequences for breaking them. For example, you can tell your child to turn off their device at bedtime. This helps encourage them to do other things such as reading or playing an instrument.

Monitor Their Activities Regularly

This is especially important if you have multiple kids who share one device — they might be hiding apps and accounts from each other and from you.

When it comes to keeping children safe online, you must regularly check their email inboxes and social media inboxes for any messages that look inappropriate or suspicious.

Set a Schedule

Set limits for the time spent on social networks. Before your child begins using a computer or smartphone, establish rules for how often and when they can use it. For instance, you may want to limit computer use to just one hour after school and 30 minutes before dinner.

Set limits for the time spent on social networks

Teach children that time spent on social media should be the same as playing in the yard or talking to friends. When they have

done their homework and other chores, they are allowed to spend time online.However, set a limit of no more than one hour per day at first. Then, if you see that your child does not become addicted over time, you can increase the amount spent online. In any case, children must understand that spending time online is a privilege, not a right.

Conclusion on keeping children safe online: –

There are plenty of ways to keep your child safe online. However, don’t forget that your child’s online experience should be fun and fulfilling. With so many things competing for your children’s attention (TV, tablet, games), the internet can represent an exciting and valuable opportunity to expand their horizons and teach them more about their world.

And besides—with the suitable precautions (using safe search tools, pausing unwanted ads, etc.)—the web can be a fantastic place for kids to enjoy creativity and knowledge at home and at school.

I have personally implemented many of these discoveries; I hope you find them helpful!

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