Internet Safety for Kids – How to Keep Children Safe Online
Online Safety regarding internet usage has always been a concern for parents who care how to keep their children safe online. These days, it seems the only total protection is to completely block children from accessing anything on the internet. But in the real world, most parents would agree that is not a practical solution. It is inevitable that kids will be exposed to information over the internet at some point in their lives, and indeed most schools embrace the internet for educational purpose. Therefore, most parent would agree that we need some sensible level of control which is not overly intrusive, yet satisfactory to keep children safe online. Rather than being seen as a complete control freak, there is a way for parents to ensure that their kids can experience a safe browsing experience and a sensible way how to keep children safe online.
Parental controls don’t always work!
Most browsers promote the use of parent controls or blocking filters to prevent kids from accessing inappropriate content. But these filters can be bypassed without the parent’s knowledge, which is even worse because the child is knowingly hiding their online behavior. Depending on the age of your children it may be necessary to conduct some level of discreet monitoring of the internet behavior. It is always appropriate for a parent to do whatever is necessary to know how to keep children safe online.
How to keep children safe online
A practical and non-intrusive way to monitor children’s behavior on the internet is to monitor their internet usage. Now this may seem a little intrusive, but in reality, it can be done in a way that is completely invisible. By maintaining a watch over our children, we as parents can gain peace of mind, and at the same time ensure that they don’t accidentally place themselves in dangerous or unacceptable situations. So how to keep children safe online – we recommend the use of an online computer monitoring software that is easy to use and non-intrusive such that the user does not even realize that it is operating.
What to look out for to keep children safe online
There is a wide range of online activities these days that kids love to interact with. These internet activities include all types of external interactions, browsing websites, involvement in chatroom conversations, comments sections in online games, skype conversations and of course social media interaction. Even different forms of online entertainment these days seem to include some form of interaction with other players. So it is important that kids learn to understand what is appropriate behavior, and how to recognize inappropriate behavior.
Most interactions are innocent behavior
Without a doubt, most of what our children do online is simply innocent child behavior, and can easily be resolved with a few simple questions. But it has become more complicated as the internet has expanded, so it pays to stay in touch with the latest technology, and to take an interest in what our kids are doing on the internet.
Beware of leading questions
Without a doubt, the most concerning type or interactions online are those involving personal or leading questions. While it may seem like a simple question to a child, answering questions about personal details, address information, contact details and phone numbers should always be avoided.
Once personal information has been shared online, there is very little control over that information. The worst example of what can go wrong is internet bullying. This subject has gained broad media attention in recent times, and the proliferation of social media, chat media, and skype communications have provided a wide range of opportunities for inappropriate comments. There is a fine line between inappropriate comments and online bullying, and the consequences can be very damaging.
Advice for how to keep children safe online
The simplest advice is not to give personal information to anyone. Although kids may be communicating to friends in an internet forum, they need to be aware that others might see it. Even if the platform deletes the comments periodically, there is still the chance that someone may take a screenshot and pass that around. The implications of data sharing and inadvertent spread of information are enormous. When it comes to how to keep children safe online, they should never share pictures on forums or public media, because you never know where it will go after you push the send button.
As a parent, there is a delicate balance to be maintained between control and trust. Total controlling behavior is likely to fail for many reasons. For a start, kids will try to circumvent the controls, and learn to hide their online behavior. It is probably more important to gain the trust of our kids as a better way how to keep children safe online. We need to provide a safe environment for our kids to discuss their online experiences. If they encounter bullying or inappropriate behavior, they need a safe mechanism to report that behavior to their parent. We need to teach them to be suspicious of invitations and leading questions from strangers. There is more to be gained by keeping open lines of communication, rather than shutting down discussion.
Advice for parents how to keep children safe online
Here at ImagiPlay, we want kids to have a fun learning experience, but we believe that it is always appropriate for parents to set age appropriate rules regarding internet access for children. It is okay for parents to set the rules about which content is appropriate for kids to access online, or which chatroom conversation are off limits. We need to keep an eye on what our children are doing when they are online, and that includes both overt and covert monitoring. There is a case for both inclusive participation in your kids internet time, as well as non-intrusive monitoring. It can be very reassuring to know that your kids are competent and interested in the world around them, and it can also set your mind at ease to know what they are doing when you are not looking!
Should you trust parental controls?
Most popular browsers claim to offer parental controls and monitoring solutions to help keep children safe online. However, it can be difficult to know whether you have complete control over the technology. For example, are you aware that you can set parental control settings on an Apple device for when it is connected to the home WiFi. But beware that as soon as the device changes from WiFi to external carrier, that the parental control settings will disappear without your knowledge!
Usage Monitoring Systems to keep children safe online
It is appropriate for parents to monitor their kids internet usage as a way how to keep children safe online? If you unsure of how technology is keeping your kids safe when they are on the internet, then there is an option to monitor children’s internet usage. There are useful tools for parents to maintain a non-intrusive watch over kids internet usage. Software monitoring solutions such as “Realtime Spy” offer a simple and easy way for parents to monitor their kids internet usage. This is a completely non-intrusive tool to monitor your child’s computer, without their knowledge, and without affecting the host computer in any physical way. The software tracks and records the external interactions from the computer. The Realtime Spy software can track details of visits to websites, chatrooms, social media, skype and internet games. The software logs a remote record of any communications so that you can gain total confidence about where you kids are visiting and what they are sharing with others.
Click here to see where you can buy Realtime Spy monitoring software to help keep children safe online.
How to keep children safe online
When it comes to children using the internet and interacting with the online world, there is no set and forget way to keep children safe online. Instead, parents need to keep the lines of communication open such that kids have a safe place to discuss their online experiences. How to keep children safe online involves a combination of sharing time in their internet world, as well as a non-intrusive way to monitor their internet usage.
The most popular browsers don’t offer monitoring by default and you have to purchase separate monitoring solutions that usually come with the internet service and provides coverage across all internet connections. This is the smart choice but you can also purchase monitoring/filtering applications for different browsers. For instance, if your child is on a Mac you could purchase parental control software for Safari. This will give you the standard monitoring options such as keyword/website filtering and you can get reports on the most visited websites. Monitoring services have age filtering for different websites and you don’t have to plug in websites manually because they usually have a list of the most popular social networks by default.
Conclusion – Internet Safety for Kids
There is no certified method to establish parental controls because it varies on a case-by-case basis and even if you do everything right something bad might happen nonetheless. This is the reality of the situation and it’s why you should apply common sense. You shouldn’t get too paranoid about “predators” and “viruses” because they are not as common as the media will lead you to believe but you should be aware of the influences that are going into your child because the internet is the biggest influencer for the new generation and blocking websites can only incline them to want to visit those websites even more. You should apply light monitoring, consult your ISP about the different monitoring options you have and make your decisions based on that. You should also spend a decent amount of time browsing the internet with your children because this is the best way to understand what they respond to and what their influences are.