The Internet is massively participatory but alas, you can’t always know who your audience is. There are many predatory adults who know full well that many of their audiences are children – minors – and their motives towards their children are totally unsavoury.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to ensure that your child is safe online. Children won’t only encounter problems on social media sites, online gaming is also a huge concern too.
It’s true that our children know far more about using a tablet, a computer and the Internet than we do, but it is still the responsibility of parents to ensure they’re protecting their kids from some aspects of the web. There is software – some commercial, others free. This software won’t only serve as a porn filter, it can also monitor and block email content and shutdown the system when a barred site is accessed.
The most common feature of this software is that it is designed for ease of use by parents. There are many features within browsers that can make your Internet access more secure. There are special apps such as FamilyShield to directly filter all content.
There are other Internet Service Providers like Sky who offer family security filters. There are also company’s involved in global IT security who develop innovative security solutions. Their mission is to make the Internet safe for consumers to exchange digital information, to protect children from online abuse and to watch out for users violating terms of service and committing cyber-crimes and then to report them to relevant authorities.
A federal law, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), was also created. Their mission is also to protect kids younger than 13 when they’re online. Its role is to keep misfits from getting a child’s personal information without a parent knowing about it. COPPA’s job is to require websites to explain their privacy policies on the site.
Free Broadband Parental Controls
In the UK, for instance, all big broadband providers offer parental control software, and these are free for their customers for a number of years. After an agreement made with the Government in 2013, they offer simplified, and Sky as an example have PG, 13 and 18 age ratings. Router-level controls also mean that all devices connected to the wifi network at home will be subject to blocks. Certainly, if you’re looking for different ways to protect your kids online, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) is the number one to go to as many provide free parental controls.
Monitoring your Kids Online Activities
More and more children have access to smartphones and personal computers, and these are important for education as well as some fun. However, with technology comes responsibility, and there are management tools to be used to help monitor a child’s use of their phone or computer. There are a number of activities for parents to do to help monitor and control how their kids are using the phones and computers. Of course, there are one or two other things that parents can do, apart from the software, to ensure safe surfing for their kids –
- Check out your phone bill a little bit more intently. See whether your bill is exceptionally high and look for a host of unfamiliar numbers on your bill.
- Inform your child about ‘online rules’. Your child needs to know that they must never give out their real name, address and telephone number willy-nilly or meet with a ‘friend’ person to person.
- Encourage your children to tell you right away when they come across information and graphics that makes them feel uncomfortable. They may not like it, but parents should encourage their children to tell them what they’re doing on the network, the conversations they’re having with others.
Talk to your Children
When all’s said and done, apart from the software, apps and other tools you have to protect your kids from online predators, the best thing you can do as a parent of young children is to get involved with their online activities.
Certainly, it may require you becoming computer literate and this can be a benefit to you and may even open up doors of opportunity for you in terms of additional work. By being computer literate, you’ll know how to block unsavoury material. Talk to them about the dangers online – that is literally your first and best line of defence.
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