The internet can be a dangerous place, and deciding to allow your children to use it takes a lot of consideration. There are things that you can do though to help keep your children safe.
Set time limits
It goes without saying that the more time you spend using the internet, the more opportunity there is for you to encounter something unsavory. This is why it is a good idea to limit how much your children use the internet. When deciding how much time they should get consider how much time they need to complete homework (if using it for this purpose) and how much time you want to allow for playing games, watching videos or chatting with friends.
Peek over their shoulder
This may feel like an invasion of privacy, but you don’t have to be as invasive as you may think. Try putting the computer in a position that is facing a wall in a shared area of your home. Your child is not likely to get on any sites you don’t approve of if anyone passing by can see the screen easily.
It’s one thing to discuss your expectations on proper internet use, and another to set rules on what will happen if those expectations are not met. Your child should know that they can lose their internet privileges if they do not follow your guidelines on using the internet.
What they shouldn’t share
Sharing details about your day is almost as natural as breathing nowadays. And of course sharing a picture of a delicious meal may be harmless, but let’s say you caption that image with the name of the restaurant and say something like, “Wendy’s Wednesdays.” This seemingly innocent post tells anyone who sees it not only where your family has dinner but what days you are there. This may not appear important, but even small details like that can be built upon and is just the kind of thing predators use to get to your children. Teach your children to keep personal information offline and not to accept anyone as a friend online they don’t know in real life.
Track their activity
Not only is it a good idea to check your children’s browsing history after they use the computer, but you can also look into parental controls to help you keep your child safe as well as stop them unintentionally stumbling across mature content.
Set a good example
Just like with anything you do, your kids are watching and interpreting it as acceptable behavior. If you don’t want your children to spend a lot of time on the computer or phone, try to cut back on using it yourself. Remind them that they should never do or say something online they would not do in person.