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Keeping Kids Safe Online

Parenting and Child Care

Many parents are aware of the risks and rewards of kids being online. Although the rewards often outweigh the risks, many parents are right to be vigilant. Keeping kids safe online isn’t impossible, but does require some planning and diligence on the part of the parents.

Rules for Keeping Kids Safe Online

Parents should first create rules for computer use. First, families should work out a time schedule if the computer is shared. That way, each family member gets time at the computer, with homework and work getting first priority. For kids younger than 10, parents should ideally sit with them while they use the computer and answer any questions they may have.

Parents should also set up separate logins for each family member. At the operating system level, parents can set up some controls for keeping kids safe online. Kids should have their own login, and it should be limited access. This way, kids cannot install/delete programs or change settings.

Parents should also set time limits for keeping kids safe online, so the kids can spend time doing other useful activities offline. For young kids, many parents may limit their browsing to specific “favorite”, parental approved, kid-friendly websites. Parents should definitely enable ‘safety’ modes for web search engines, like Bing and Google or opt for a kid-oriented search engine.

Parents may also buy standalone monitoring or filtering software for their PC or laptop. In addition, parents should also ban public chat rooms, especially for kids under the age of 13. Parents can also install up pop up blockers to block annoying ads. Parents should also install anti-virus/security software to keep their computer running without too many issues.

Additional Ways for Keeping Kids Safe Online

Kids should know that all these rules are for keeping kids safe online, not for punishment. Kids should never give out sensitive information like their full name, address, school address, phone numbers, email address, social security numbers, bank accounts or passwords online. They should also not send pictures to strangers online.

Most importantly, parents should always talk with their kids. Sometimes problems start in school and may increase online. Also, parents should warn their kid about people who pretend to be their friends or act abusively online. They should talk about Internet predators and cyberbullying and how to act in these situations.

Parents should also talk about topics like excessive online shopping, piracy, privacy, pornography, Internet schemes and excessive advertising in an age-appropriate manner. Knowledge is one major way of keeping kids safe online.

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