Today’s parents go through a constant balancing act when it comes to technology. They want to protect their child from the dangers of the internet, yet they also don’t want them to get behind their tech savvy peers.
The internet is used for education, keeping in touch with friends, and is just as important as IRL (in real life) to today’s young generation. So, keeping kids off the internet isn’t an option, but keeping them safer while on it is.
A few disturbing statistics about online safety and kids are:
- 71% of children encounter inappropriate content while online doing research for homework.
- 75% of kids would share personal information online in exchange for a product of service.
- 65% of 8 to 14-year-olds have experienced cyberbullying.
Today’s kids also get electronics at younger and younger ages, with many toddlers getting their first iPhone or tablet when they can barely walk. This makes it even more important to start internet safety early and make it a regular part of your family routine and lifestyle.
Here are several online safety tips for kids that can help!
Best Practices for Internet Safety for Kids
Use Parental Control Applications
While some kids might bristle at having their internet freedoms curtailed, using parental control applications is an important way to block inappropriate content online (like pornography and violent images).
And in fact, many teens actually want to be protected from inappropriate online content. In a survey by Internet Matters, it was found that 7 out of 10 teenagers want their parents to filter content to keep them safer online.
You can find parental controls in several places:
- Standalone applications (Net Nanny, Norton Family, etc.)
- Internet service provider tools
- In-app tools on services like Netflix
Make sure to have parental controls on any device a child may be using and be careful about lending them your non-kid-protected tablet or smartphone because it’s more convenient in the moment.
Talk About Internet Safety Often
Just like employees at a business need to be trained regularly on cybersecurity in order for the training to remain effective, kids need to be reminded of how to stay safe online.
Include internet safety discussions regularly at the dinner table or when everyone is talking about their day. You can introduce the topic without sounding judgmental by bringing up a recent internet crime or security news story and having everyone discuss their thoughts.
Some of the standard best practices that kids should be taught for internet safety include:
- Never talk to strangers online through DM or any other means.
- Never give out personal information online.
- Immediately report any inappropriate content you see to Mom/Dad/Grandparents, etc.
- Don’t download or install anything without parental permission (including any mobile apps)
- Do not post pictures of yourself without parental permission.
You can use a resource like this one from McGruff Safe Kids as a guide.
Set Up Private Social Media Profiles
Kids (just like adults) spend a lot of time on social media. U.S. kids aged 13 to 18, use entertainment screen media for an average of 7 hours and 22 minutes daily. The most popular social sites for teens are YouTube, Instagram, and SnapChat (with TikTok coming up fast in popularity).
Online predators often use social media to contact children, many times posing as someone of the same age.
It’s not easy to keep kids off social platforms, but you can improve their safety by seeing up strong privacy settings on their social profiles and not allowing them to set up other profiles that you don’t know about.
- Set the profile to private, so only those friends/family your child is connected to in the app can see what they post.
- Make profiles unsearchable by Google.
- Make it so connected friends can’t share photos added to a timeline.
Use Best Practices for Device Security
Children can easily get fooled by phishing or an innocent-looking mobile app that is actually hiding malware. You want to ensure their device has all the standard best practices applied for IT security.
The right protection on a device can stop malware from being downloaded, even if your child accidentally clicked a malicious link. You can also ensure certain information isn’t being tracked that you don’t know about.
Some of the best practices for device security (on both PCs and mobile) include:
- Strong antivirus/anti-malware
- Web filtering to block malicious sites
- Email spam/phishing filtering
- Device firewall protections
- Use of a password manager to ensure children are using strong passwords
- Implement device settings to restrict sharing and device discovery
- Use a good backup & recovery app to make sure precious photos, videos, or other data aren’t lost.
Need Help Putting Device Protection in Place?
Carl’s Computer Care can assist your Louisiana family with strong device protections to ensure all your computers and mobile devices are properly secured.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation! Call 225-315-3498 or reach us online.