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Kids Safety Online: Prevention Guidelines for Parents

Parenting and Child Care

Kids safety online is a hot topic these days. As a parent, you may be wondering what’s the best course to take in order to ensure your child’s online safety. Here are some tips for parents to follow in an effort to keep their children safe as they explore what the Internet has to offer.

  • Teach your kids online safety rules. One of the cornerstones for kids safety online lies in your child knowing what is and is not safe to do on the Internet. Tips such as never giving out personal information and never revealing one’s schedule will help your child know what’s best not to divulge. Simple steps such as using a nickname online, being careful about personal photos, and asking before downloading content will also help keep kids safer (as well as your computer).
  • Determine what sites your child may visit. This involves personally visiting and checking out those sites your child is interested in. You want to read the privacy statement for each site and be sure the site isn’t going to request personal information. Most browsers also offer some sort of parental controls you can set up to limit searches, deny access to inappropriate games and videos, and manage what sites your child is able to access.
  • Increase the security and privacy controls for your computer. In addition to blocking inappropriate content, you also want to block those sites and downloads that might pose a risk to your computer. Unfortunately, some kid sites may try to download programs without permission or otherwise infect your computer with viruses and spyware. You want to start by keeping a reputable antivirus and antispyware program with regular updates on your computer. You also want to set limits on downloads with your child. You can either do this by requiring your child to obtain permission before downloading anything or by creating a password-protected administer-type account for your computer where only you are able to install new software.
  • Monitor where your kids go online. By knowing your child’s online patterns, you can maintain an active discussion as to the safety of their online activities. Most browsers will allow you to review a “history” list of sites visited. Or if you want more thorough monitoring, there are a variety of monitoring programs available that will even give you regular reports on your child’s online activities.
  • Create a family contract for house Internet rules. You want to establish clear rules concerning the Internet before your child starts to explore. This includes issues such as when your child is allowed online, for how long, where he or she is allowed to go, and safety rules that must be followed. Depending on each child’s age, the contract is going to be different, but the important this is that clear rules are established. It’s recommended that the contract be written out, that you go over it as a family, and that your children sign it to show that they understand what rules have been set and agree to follow them when they go online.

Although the Internet can be a really fun playground for children, you want to be sure they’re safe. By following these guidelines for kids safety online, you can help create an environment that’s safe for your kids to explore.

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