How do I keep my kids safe online without scaring them off the internet?
We’re always telling our kids to be honest and tell the truth, but sometimes that’s not the best policy online. We’re certainly not suggesting that you tell your kids to lie but perhaps holding back from telling their life story would be a better way of putting it. Top tips for keeping the kids safe:
Don’t talk to strangers – you’ve probably said it your kids countless times, and your kids probably know not to tell strangers all about themselves and the same goes when chatting or gaming online. Nobody they meet in cyber space needs to know their full name, where they live, where they go to school or where they like to play.
Don’t frighten them – we all love a fairy tale, they’re just a little bit scary but not so terrifying that you have to sleep with the lights on. Apply the same rule to being online, kids should be cautious and if they’re made to feel unconformable about saying or doing something, they should come and tell you. But don’t go overboard, the last thing you want is for them to be frightened of being online – they’ll miss it when it comes to homework answers.
Parental controls – an old fashioned parental control would be to put the computer where you can see what your kids are up to (easier said than done with tablets, laptops and smartphones). Or, set up controls with your internet provider so you can block what access your kids have, you can even set certain times for limits to apply and you can protect all your devices if they’re connected to the same internet source.
Child friendly websites – you can also get parental control software to restrict and monitor the kids access to certain sites. This software will automatically filter out all the nasties.
Talk – remember that it’s good to talk (something our kids might not appreciate) and keeping an open dialogue will mean they’re more likely to share stuff with you. Try and be as open and honest as you can and you’ll also help them avoid being sucked in by the trip, trap, trip, trap of trolls creeping along the cyber highway.