The Internet can be an amazing place filled with educational delights. Gone are the days of using encyclopedias for school reports. These days, kids are able to access more than just microfilms at the school library. Now they have universities, journals, publications and institutions at their fingertips.
Although, as anyone who’s online knows, the Internet is not used primarily for education or career building. A lot, if not most, of screen time is devoted to entertainment. You can see it in the glut of cat videos, online games, and social media.
However, along with the good side of the Internet comes the bad side. Kids today are more open to attacks online than they are on the school yard. This is why parents need to be aware and up-to-date with all of the risks, and be on the offensive for online dangers.
Online safety is more than just telling kids what they are allowed to do online. Conversations need to include what warning signs to look out for to keep them safe from strangers, blocking inappropriate content, and most of all learning how to use the Internet in safe and responsible ways.
5 things parents need to know about online safety are:
- You need to set clear boundaries online.
Make sure your kids understand what behavior you expect from them offline as well as online. The same goes for where they are allowed to go. If your child isn’t allowed to go to the mall by themselves, then they need to understand that the same safety rules apply online. WebProtectMe Safe Browser helps parents set up these boundaries for their families so every child is in a safe environment.
- Use Guardian with WebProtectMe.
Guardian is part of Premium that works with WebProtectMe. It monitors browsing history so parents will know where their kids are going at all times. Unfortunately, other browsers have the ability to use an incognito mode which hides histories and allows users to wander into dangerous and unsavory areas online. WebProtectMe and Guardian work together to keep your kids from hiding histories, and keeps parents in the know of what their children have seen and learned.
- Keep mobile devices out of bedrooms.
Open communication is the most important part of online safety, and parents need to know what their kids are watching and reading online. Keeping mobile devices out of the bedroom is a fundamental step in making sure children are not hiding what they are doing, who they’re talking with, or what they’re watching. Keep all mobile devices in common rooms of the house at all times!
- Make sure you know the passwords for your mobile devices.
Another surefire way to keep children from hiding histories is to make sure you know all the passwords for your mobile devices. Do not let anyone change the passwords, and always check in on the devices to make sure the settings are where they are supposed to be.
- Understand what hashtags to look out for.
Some content is easy to understand online. But some isn’t so easy, such as hashtags. Dangerous hashtags to look out for would be #ana, or #thinspro, for anorexia; #instasex, #kiksex; #secretsociety123, for suicide or self-harming; #bodycheck; #abuse; #dv, for domestic violence; #cutting; #ed, for eating disorder. Always learn what your children are reading, and saying, online, to keep them safe!