Guest post: Keeping your kids safe online – what are the essentials? 

September 30, 2013 Off By Laura TMOT
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You don’t need to be a genius to know that parenthood is hard work! Making sure the kids behave, whatever they do, takes a lot of time, but sometimes you can’t help but let your guard down, especially as they get older. If, like me, you have young kids, you’ll know what they need to learn and play, and the internet is a useful tool for both purposes.

Kids of almost all ages will need to log on to help with homework or basic skills such as reading and writing. They might also want to use the internet to play games and learn more about the world around them, which is great. However, when going online, they might be prey to several security risks, especially if they don’t know what they’re clicking on.

Teaching vigilance

To try to make sure that your kids are safe whenever they’re online, it’s important to teach them HOW to be careful. You could tell them which sites are ok to visit and what should be avoided, while showing them what to do when talking to someone else on, say, an instant messaging site can be helpful too. However, there’s plenty more you can do yourself.

To prevent your kids downloading any unwanted viruses or visiting any sites with adult content, a free online filter like Norton Family comes highly recommended according to this review in the Daily Mail and it could do all the hard work for you.

You also have the option of moving up the premium version, which allows you to see exactly what videos your kids are watching online and get a more detailed set of reports, including information about how much time they spend on the computer. This add-on also lets you see exactly who your child is texting on their phone, should they be at an age where they’re allowed to own such a device. It could stop any forms of malware in their tracks, meaning that your sons and/or daughters can surf and communicate without worrying about ruining your computer or mobile device.

Baby steps for social media

Once your kids approach their teens, they’re probably going to want to set up a few accounts on social media sites. While this is perfectly natural, you might be a little anxious about them talking to someone they shouldn’t be. Sites like Facebook have features which help to protect against this problem to some degree, but there is something you could do.

If your kids open accounts on one site, it might be worthwhile to have an account yourself so you can follow them or add them as a ‘friend’. That way, you can see what they post and check that they’re not doing anything which might be seen as unsafe.

The internet is an amazing place but it can also be a dangerous place so teaching your children about these dangers and protecting them where you can is an important part of being a responsible parent.