Keeping children off of the internet is a near impossible task these days, and many children are more familiar with the internet than their parents are. This means we need to make sure that our children are aware of online dangers and safety measures they should take, too. Children use social networking sites, email and instant messaging on a regular basis, and many of them have experience of online shopping, too. All of these things pose risks, so how can parents help to keep their children safe online?
Fortunately, there is security software which we can use to protect our children whilst they are using the internet. One of the biggest risks that our children face online is meeting an online predator. There are plenty of people using the internet who will try to contact your child and act as their friend, when in reality they have much darker motives. Other risks include gambling sites, pornography sites and other websites aimed at adults, all of which are far too easy for a child to discover.
online bullying is perhaps one of the biggest concerns because it affects so many children, and yet many of them do not tell anybody about it despite the huge emotional impact it is having on them. You should be aware of what your children are doing online and be strict with the information they are allowed to share about themselves and about you.
What should parents do?
- Inform your children about online risks and threats.
- Have a shared computer in a family room and do not allow your children to have private ones until they are mature enough to be trusted.
- Only allow them to use the internet for a limited amount of time.
- Install McAfee® security software which includes parental controls so that you can restrict what your children have access to and regular reporting so you can keep updated with what your children are doing online.
- Look at your children’s blogs and social networking profiles.
- Tell your children they shouldn’t share personal information about themselves or others with strangers, and don’t let them fill out any surveys or forms online without your permission.
- Make sure your children are aware of the dangers of instant messaging and email, particularly suspicious links.
- Use a web browser which has been specifically designed for children such as Yahooligans or Kid Browser 1.1.
When you install security software on your computer, you can take comfort in the knowledge that your children are safe from online threats. You can block explicit content or specific websites, and you can even restrict their access to search engines. Software isn’t all you need though, and it’s important to inform your children about things they need to be aware of and what they can do to stay safe.