Keeping Your Kids Safe While on the Internet
As a parent, Our first duty towards our children is to provide food, shelter, education, recreating, and safety in all of the above. It won’t benefit our children whatever We do for them if they can not enjoy it due to safety issues. However, safety is not only in the neighbour hood, home, school, car ..etc. It is also on the Internet.
In this post I’ll share some of my thoughts about kids’ Internet safety and how to provide a safe environment for their daily surfing even when I am not around. The first thing to do is to spot the danger, take safety measures to prevent it, and be prepared to take action if something goes wrong despite my efforts.
I’ll also share my experiences about finding a way to keep my three children safe from cyber bullying and Internet predators while they surf the Web. After doing some research, I found LOTS of relevant material about how our kids really have no idea how unsavory people can use information found on the Internet to cause harm to them, such as “cyberbullying” and what Internet predators can do…
Today’s Children and Computers…
It seems like everyone has a laptop in today’s world. My three children each have their own kids laptops, thanks to generous relatives that give nice presents during the holiday season. It’s a great resource for children to have as a study guide for school, or to legally download music and videos, but if most children are like mine, they will spend a lot of time on social networking sites like twitter, instagram or Facebook.
These sites are ingenious creations, helping people to find and communicate with old friends, classmates to digitally reunite, and friends and family sharing their daily activities together. Unfortunately, there can be a negative side to all of this information existing in an easy-to-locate forum.
What Unsavory People Can Do…
Due to the anonymous nature of Internet surfing, there are unscrupulous individuals that pose as kids on the Internet to find out information about a particular person. Even though there are some security measures on the social networking sites, they are not too difficult to circumvent for the reasonably experienced computer user.
So, by posing as a friend of a friend or sibling of a friend, Internet predators or “cyberbullies” can find out where your kids like to hang out, who their friends are and where they might physically be at any given time (such as the announcement of a party or social activity).
Information like getting phone numbers or addresses from children on the social networking sites isn’t too difficult, either. Now, the bad guys have some pertinent information about your children. What could they do after that?
Bullies And Predators
“Cyberbullies” can harass and bully your kids into distraction for any reason at all, or maybe no reason at all (we all remember how cruel kids can be to one another sometimes). Internet predators can lure your innocent kids into harmful situations for their own twisted motives, sometimes with disastrous results.
There have been recent news accounts in the last year of a cyberbully causing a young girl to commit suicide because of continuous and unrelenting harassment. As my research about providing Internet security for my children continued, I was becoming more and more alarmed. Most kids don’t have a clue as to the amount of potential danger they are exposed to while surfing on the Internet.
Internet Safety Tips For Kids and Teens
I have a seven year old son who at seven is in love with the internet. Although I am excited about all the different kid friendly sites that he can explore online I am also very aware that there are internet predators out there.
If you too are concerned with what your children are being exposed to on the internet keep reading to find some great internet safety tips for kids and teens . Learn how you can determine if your child is really safe online and what steps you can take other than standing over your child’s shoulder to keep them safe online.
How to Ensure Kids’ Internet Safety – Know Your Enemy
Spot the Danger On the Internet
This is the first step: know the sources of danger so that you block their entries. Kids Internet security issues are sometimes related to:
- Internet predators
- Cyber bullying
- Kidnapping for ransom, organ trafficking, sexual abuse … etc
- Identity theft of the kids or the parents through information they provide online
- Recruitment for hate crimes, sex, drugs, alcohol, spying … etc
- Exposure to pornography
Kids are naive, and are prone to provide any information to any one who asks just because they know the answer. It’s what the education system plants in them. By engaging in conversations with someone involved in any of the above activities kids are endangering themselves and their families.
Know The Warning Signs
First things first know the signs to tell if your child is in danger of encountering a predator:
- If your child is separating from you and the rest of the family; if you notice your child not involved in family activities and talking less than normal.
- If your child suddenly has expensive gifts or items and you don’t know where they received them. Internet predators will try to lure your child with gifts as a way to gain to their trust.
- If your child is very secretive when they are on the internet. Kids know when they are doing something that mom or dad shouldn’t know about; so be aware if you child is changing to a different screen when you walk in the room.
- Be aware where else your child may be using the internet; they may start using the internet at a friend’s house or the library so you are not aware of their internet activity.
- Know what your child is doing when you are not home. This is prime time for internet predators restrict internet usage to times when you are home or make sure you have control over what can be viewed on the internet and when.
What To Do If You Suspect Danger
If you suspect or know for sure that your child’s internet activity is not appropriate then you must confront them as soon as you know. Don’t wait, don’t let too much time past because the longer you wait the more time the internet predator has to lure away your child.
Express your concerns and let your child know that your goal is to keep them safe and you will do whatever is necessary to do just that. Depending on the age of your child you can explain the danger of internet predators and why it is important for you to monitor what they are doing on the internet. Don’t be afraid to use tools and software to monitor your kids activity now and in the future.
Prevent the Danger
To protect my kids while on the Internet I do two things:
1. I educate them about what they shouldn’t do and the consequences upon doing such things. Even though one of my kids is too young, I am planting the seeds of Internet security in her from now.
2. I use technology. There is a solution for virtually anything you want to don with your computer. There are two pieces of software that are mandatory to be installed on any computer in my kids’ disposal: a porn blocker, and an activity monitoring program.
The porn blocker blocks the sites that I don’t want my kids to have access to. It’s not only about pornography, the software blocks anything I decide to block, including chatrooms if I decide to. This way I work on preventing the danger that I know of.
For what I don’t know, I use a monitoring software. If I see something suspicious I visit the site and if it turned out to be a source of evil I block it with the porn blocker.
Another benefit of the monitoring software is to provide tracking information that could be used in case something goes wrong and someone penetrates to my kids. These tracking information could save the life of child or in worst case scenario help bring the predator to justice.
Best Internet Monitoring Software 2017
If you decide to use an internet monitoring software it is important to know what your family needs are and what programs and software will work best for your family. There are of course pros and cons to using this type of software so be sure to do your research.
Pros: You can choose which sites your child can access, keeps predators away from your child, you don’t have to look over your child’s shoulder while they are on the internet.
Cons: You may have to override some sites so adults can access them, Your child may figure out how to override the software, you have to be sure to make all updates so that the software is working properly. In addition to pros and cons you may also want to be sure that the software will work well with other software and programs installed on the computer already. There are also internet monitoring software that will allow you to set time limits on internet usage. These are great to set when you are not home to monitor internet usage.
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