The internet has become an integral part of our daily lives, changing how we work, shop, socialize, book appointments, and even eat!
Because of this, it’s only natural that your children will want to be online as well. In fact, most of the younger generation will never have known a time without the internet. It’s just as much a part of their lives as television is.
But sadly, this doesn’t stop the growing wave of cybercrime and potential threats lurking online. The internet can be a wonderful place, but if you’re uneducated or naive about these threats, you might find yourself falling victim.
For this reason, it’s completely understandable that parents are worried about what their children are accessing online and who they’re talking to.
Over the years, systems and apps have been developed to give parents more control over internet usage, but unless you’re sitting next to your child 24/7, it can feel impossible to completely monitor their online habits.
Here’s what you need to know about internet safety training for kids and some simple ways for you to check if your children are safe online:
1Teach them to be responsible online
The most effective way to ensure that your children are safe online is by educating them about potential threats and teaching them about responsible internet browsing. Setting boundaries for what sites they can and can’t visit is a good idea. Most importantly, you need to teach them to recognize the red flags so they can come to you if something seems strange.
They need to feel safe approaching you about a strange pop-up or an inappropriate website. So, be careful not to get angry and explain to them what has happened and why they should avoid such websites instead.
You also want them to understand the dangers of engaging with strangers over the internet. Encourage them to come to you if they’re concerned about someone that’s been messaging or reaching out to them. It’s really about creating an environment of trust and understanding so they’ll come to you if there’s any problem.
2Have measures in place to ensure their security
Another way to check that your little ones are safe online and feel more relaxed when they’re browsing is by putting blocks on certain sites. Channels like YouTube are a popular way of consuming content for young children, so be sure they’re not signed into an account which could give them access to over 18 materials. If you use the computer yourself, be sure to sign out of any accounts you use.
You can also speak to your broadband provider about the services they offer. There are also devices that you can plug into the wall and act as interceptors between the Wi-Fi router and your child’s device. You can control these devices from an app on your phone.
This allows you to turn off the internet at any point, block them from sites, and set times in which they can and can’t use it. If you’re concerned about what they’re looking at, you can put blocks on them using the internet while you’re out of the house.
If you want to be able to keep an eye on your children’s internet usage, it’s a good idea to keep computers in shared rooms in the house. This also goes for laptops or tablets. By ensuring they use their devices in the same room as you or in a busy room in the house, they’re less likely to try and stray from approved sites.
What’s more, you’re more likely to spot them if they do. This can be tricky with older children and teens because they are more likely to have a mobile device. If that’s the case, you may need to put data restrictions on this. But for younger children, this can be a great way to keep an eye on them.
4Spend time with them online
In order to get good grips with what your child is looking at and initiate internet safety training for kids, you should spend some time online with your children.
For example, in the evening, you could sit next to them and take an interest in what they’re doing. Ask them questions about the games they’re playing or sites they’re visiting. This will help you understand how they are using the internet. It might also set your mind at rest if they prove how competent they are online.
Again, this can be a little bit trickier with older children and teens. As they grow up, they tend to value their privacy a bit more.
In these cases, if you see them online, perhaps casually ask questions instead of trying to directly spend time with them. Ask them what they’re up to, if they’ve found any new games or if there are any cool new sites that they should know about. Gathering as much information as you can helps to keep your children safe.
5Check the history
This last one should be your final resort. Ideally, it’s not something you want to be doing all the time when you’re trying to create an environment of trust.
But if you are concerned about what your child has been doing, you can always check the browsing history on their devices. This will give you a rundown of the sites they’ve visited that day. It can be a good, occasional technique just to keep an eye on things. Make sure that your child is following all the guidelines you’ve set out for them and not interacting with anyone they shouldn’t be online.