Online Safety Tips for Kids
Keeping our kids safe online – All the time
During summer vacation, kids often stay up late, sleep in late, and play outside a lot. But, if your kids are anything like my boys they also want to spend a lot of their free time playing video games or watching the latest video on their favorite game on YouTube.
Kids are more and more spending time online and while these activities may offer many hours of fun, they also expose our little ones to inappropriate content or people who might want to take advantage of them.
As parents, we don’t have to simply eliminate the computer, but we have to be able to:
1. understand what the kids are doing, what sites they’re navigating, what content they are watching and that entails us sitting there with them and watching it with them to see if what they “love so much” is age appropriate or OK with our values.
2. we have to know what tools are available to monitor and, if needed, shut down certain online sites for them.
We use Norton Family and are very happy with it. With it I have the ability to block sites I don’t want the boys to visit as well as to set notifications of what they are doing online.
We also use the family safety settings on our Xbox. These tools are also available in all operational systems like Microsoft and email accounts. They provide security tools to help block questionable websites, control who corresponds with our children and guard against online attacks.
Creating schedules and rules has helped us curb the “love for all things electronics” in our house. The boys can only play on weekends and during vacation, they have 2 slots of time, AM and PM and for every hour spent on games they have to read, do Math or a chore in the house – a NOT popular rule, but has been working for us and that slowly sinks in.
Also, they are not allowed to create an email account or game accounts. All accounts are under our names and we own the master passwords, which leads me to another big thing under the “online life” chapter: account management and passwords. Have a list for each child, just like you have for your own online accounts.
Here are some other tips from Microsoft to consider:
- Set clear rules for Internet usage. Prepare children for the online world just as you would for the real world. Establish guidelines and know who they are communicating with and what they are seeing online.
- Keep personal information private. Don’t share personal information about yourself online—such as your name, address, age, or gender—with anyone.
- Consider PC proximity. It might make sense to place the family’s computer in a common room or near the kitchen, especially for PCs that don’t have family safety software installed. Parents are able to provide supervision and guidelines more easily if they can see the computer monitor.
Keep communication open with your children. When kids see something on the Internet that makes them feel uncomfortable, assure them they can talk to you about it without fear of getting their computer privileges taken away. Here is a cool online safety tip for kids video you can show your older kids as well, even more, if they use smartphones.
May your summer be fun and safe!