Wanting to protect your children is as second nature as breathing to most parents. Protecting them on the playground and teaching them social skills to ensure their safety and happiness throughout life is an essential part of parenting. With the shift toward online social interaction, it stands to reason that parents would want to protect their children in a cyber environment as much as a physical one. But where does one even start? Here are 4 of the most commonly asked questions about online safety.
- How Do I Protect My Children Over the Internet?
The most important thing to understand about internet safety is that it is a perpetual learning experience. It is much more than blocking inappropriate sites or forbidding your children from talking to strangers. Cyber safety is more about teaching your child how to use the internet in a safe, responsible and productive manner. Talk with your child about your concerns and their concerns about the internet. Create a safe space to allow your child to confide in you and openly ask for help and support. Give them a set of rules and expectations to follow while they are online – this will both teach them internet etiquette and safe online practices.
- How Important Are Privacy Settings?
Privacy settings are the best way to regulate who gets to see things you and your children post onto the internet. In either the settings or tools option, you will find the privacy settings available on your web browser, application or smartphone. Parental control and privacy settings are an easy way to restrict certain websites, app downloads and inappropriate application installation. Use them to fine tune the content both coming and going out into the world wide web.
- How Can I Best Control My Child’s Social Media?
Social media is the modern interpretation of sharing pictures with your friends in the park. If you do allow your child to have a social media account, friend and follow them. This adds an aura of accountability for your child as well as regulatory access for you. However, this is not an opportunity for you comment on everything your child adds to social media. Embarrassing or over-policing your child can push them to create multiple accounts or change apps without your knowledge. Advise them from the outside; privacy settings and appropriateness are face-to-face discussions.Remember that is not about controlling your child, but about teaching them what is appropriate and acceptable to have on your digital footprint.
- How Do I Help My Kids Create Good Screen Names and Passwords?
Coming up with screen names can be a great opportunity for creativity and fun. Avoiding one’s real name and keeping it fun and appropriate is important. Try asking your child these questions when creating a username: can others read and understand it? Is it offensive in any way? Does this name send the right message?Teach them how to make good, strong passwords: longer than 8 characters with capital letters or symbols, personal so that they remember but not obvious or easy to guess. Teach them to keep these passwords secret and to keep hints or a copy of them far away from the computer.
At the Parenting Team, we believe that parenting is about creating a good relationship with your children so that you can effectively teach them how to navigate the ins and outs of the world while being true to themselves. Parenting is about interacting and having fun with your children in the new, modern technological world. Parenting is about fostering good habits that stay with your children long after they leave your presence. If you have any other questions about your children and cyber safety, contact us today.
The above article contains general information on the topic of which it was written. Some statements and/or suggestions contained within may apply to you, while others may not. For information and guidance on a personalized, individualized question and answer approach formatted just for you, please visit our parenting questions service page.