Cyber bullying and Internet dangers are running rampant in today’s online world. As a parent protecting your children online is a simple concept, but one most parents don’t consider or take steps to addressing early on in their child’s life. The Internet should be a place of entertainment and education when it comes to your children, but unfortunately more times than not, this isn’t the case. Prohibited content, cyber bullying and all manner of danger lurk around every corner of the Internet when it comes to an unsupervised child. As a parent it’s crucial for you to take an active role in speaking with your children about the dangers that await them online, as well as monitoring their activities and ensuring their safety. The following tips will help you protect your children online and create a line of communication between you and your child about what they experience on the Internet.
Know what your child is looking up online
As a parent there’s no reason why your child should be online without you knowing of it. Encourage your children to let you know if they come across something that seems suspicious or inappropriate. Communication is key when it comes to protecting your children online and in today’s day and age being aware as a parent is a must. Communicate early on and have discussions. Let nothing go unsaid and check in with your children often, especially when you know they’ve been online.
Rules weren’t made to be broken
Like most things in your child’s life as a parent you set the precedent and guidelines for what they can and cannot do. Their activity online is no different. Schedule time for them to go online, the sites they’re allowed to visit and people they’re allowed to talk to. These rules would be best to be visible by your computer as a constant reminder of what’s allowed and what isn’t.
Personal information is not meant to be shared
By giving your child access to the family computer you run the risk of them unknowingly sharing their own personal information as well as yours. Be sure to sit down with them and discuss what they’re not allowed to share on the Internet. Their names, phone numbers, address, where they go to school or any general information that would benefit an online predator from finding out who they are and where they are should not be shared or discussed online. Teach them not to respond to hurtful or disturbing messages in chat rooms. Emails from unknown sources are not to be opened. Privacy and the reinforcement of it are to be encouraged as well as practiced especially if your child is on social media.
Location, Location, Location
There is no reason whatsoever that the computer your child has access to isn’t in a public area in the house. This further strengthens the idea of being open with one another and encouraging honesty. This also makes your job as a parent much easier when it comes to monitoring your child online.
Cyber bullying is a scary reality and shouldn’t be tolerated
Unfortunately, when it comes to cyber bullying there is no one size fits all solution. As a parent it’s important for your child to know and understand that you are to be trusted and confided in should this happen to them online. This reassurance and trust will go a long way in helping them deal with the negativity they’ve experienced. By having your child know they have support and are loved will make all the difference. Should the cyber bully be a class mate it’s important to let the school know what is going on so teachers and counselors can help address the situation and make sure it is being monitored.
The online world is full of dangers regardless of your age, however, as a parent it’s important to protect your children to the best of your abilities and when it comes to online threats and dangers communication and trust are crucial between you and your children. Stay safe.