As a parent, it’s important for you to educate yourself on the latest online threats, establish rules and discuss safety practices to educate your kids about safe Internet use. Teenagers are particularly at risk because they mostly get online unsupervised and are more likely than younger kids to participate in online activities.
Decide on limits
- Decide where your child can or can’t go on the internet. Parental control software can help to filter out inappropriate content and monitor the sites they visit.
- Create a separate computer login and password for your child.
- You can also limit their internet “screen time”.
Set reasonable rules and guidelines for internet use. Discuss these rules and display them near the computer as a reminder.
- Encourage your child to share their internet experience with you.
- If they play online games, use instant messaging or have an online account which requires a login name, help them choose a username that doesn’t reveal any personal information about themselves.
- Teach your child not to share any identifiable information such as their real name, address, phone number, school name or location.
- Remind them that not everything they see online is true. Encourage them to ask you if they’re not sure.
- Make sure your child knows they should never meet any of their online friends in person without talking to you first. Tell them about what could happen if they meet strangers.
- Teach your child good ethics while online and to always be polite.
Teach your child social networking safety
Help your child understand that social networking sites can be viewed by anyone, so any information they post can expose them to cyberbullying, online predators, scams or phishing.
- Explain to your child that online friends may not be who they claim to be.
- Tell your child never to post photos without your permission, and not to reveal too many details in photos.
- Talk to your child about expressing emotions to strangers. Online predators often target emotionally vulnerable children.
- Warn your child about cyberbullying and encourage them to talk to you or a teacher if they’re being cyberbullied.
- Sharing their location can be dangerous as they’re letting people know where to find them.
- Advise your child to talk to you if they see anything online that makes them feel uncomfortable, anxious or threatened.
- Take the time to look at the privacy settings on your child’s favorite sites and apps, and check the settings regularly, since privacy policies often change.
- Teach your child to think before they post. Once something is put online, it can be seen by a lot of people and it’s very hard to take back.
Increase security and privacy
- Educate yourself on the online threats affecting children, such as cyberbullying, sexting, online scams, etc.
- Use parental control software to monitor your child’s online activity and block inappropriate content. Most computer operating systems come with parental control software.
- Adjust browser settings to control browser security and privacy.
- Use antivirus and anti-spyware programs to protect your computer or devices.
- Cover your webcam when it’s not in use.
- Use child-friendly versions of apps, such as YouTube Kids, and search engines such as www.kiddle.co
Stay involved with your child’s online activities
- Monitor your child’s online activities.
- Pay attention to who they are chatting with, and what games they play. Some games have chat features which would allow players to communicate with each other.
- Occasionally spend time with your child when they’re online and provide guidance when they need help.
Download the Parent’s Guide to Online Safety