Say goodbye to long days of swingsets and metal slides that burn in the summer. The digital world, including streaming services and apps, has become the new playground for children. Meta (previously Facebook, Inc.) released an app called Messenger for Kids. Netflix and other streaming services offer parental controls. Multiple websites are engineered for children, including educational favorites like FunBrain and CoolMath. Needless to say, the opportunities for online interaction are endless… Both good and bad.
So how are you, as a parent or guardian, supposed to protect your loved ones? Here are 5 major ways that your children can practice safety online, and that you can help keep them secure.
SECURE ANY AND ALL PRIVATE INFORMATION
Whether online or IRL (in real life), your child should understand the importance of privacy. We recommend that you have an honest conversation about what is appropriate and inappropriate to share with others, regardless of if they are strangers or not. Open conversations like this will pay off down the road!
BE RESPONSIBLE AND RESPECTFUL
No matter whether your child is browsing the internet, playing video games or messaging online, they should always be respectful towards others. Avoiding arguments and practicing kindness is the best way to avoid any future misunderstandings or duress that could affect your young one.
MONITOR YOUR CHILD’S ACTIVITY
Do you know with whom your child is communicating? Which websites do they visit? Fortunately, there are ways to monitor your child without crossing boundaries or invading privacy. We recommend that you explore monitoring options like kid-safe browsers; a great option is KidzSearch by Google.
KEEP YOUR TECHNOLOGY UPDATED
Can you confidently say that your devices, software and firmware are up to date? Outdated technology can render monitoring solutions useless, including antivirus software and parental controls. Take a day at least every other month to check your home’s technology.
When updating your home’s technology, you should also monitor current tech trends. What is the newest app? What is the latest form of communication for individuals in your child’s age group? Staying up to date with trends can make future conversations with your child easier, especially since you will have a better understanding of what they are talking about.
ENCOURAGE OPEN COMMUNICATION WITH YOUR CHILD
Ensure that your child feels safe and comfortable with sharing information with you. We recommend that you explain to your child what is considered to be acceptable behavior from strangers. Whatever does not fall into those guidelines–your child should feel comfortable to tell a trusted adult!
At the end of the day, there is no guaranteed solution to protecting your children online. But don’t be disheartened! These five tips are great stepping stones towards encouraging open conversations, practicing discretion and setting boundaries for your child.
At Castle Technology Partners, we believe that your technology should work for you and not against you. We offer computer and network management, business telephone systems, video surveillance and other services. Reach out to us today at castletechnologypartners.com/ or call (251) 313-0411 to get started.