How to Protect Your Kids from Inappropriate Online Content

Setting tight Internet boundaries for your young children protects them against improper information, cyberbullies, identity thieves, and child predators. Installing popup blockers and reminding your child to never, ever give out her real name, age, or address online are good places to start. However, in the age of social media oversharing and sexting, even these safeguards are insufficient.

Why Kids Need Protection on The Internet

Parents learn about the significance of internet safety for their children from a variety of sources; for example, the news is never short of tales regarding children and online predators. Meanwhile, anecdotal evidence from other parents and warnings from local law enforcement agencies contribute to a nagging concern of providing children access to the internet.

However, statistics from NetSmartz (a website run by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Youngsters) show that children are spending more time online than ever before. Ninety-three percent of children aged 12 to 17 have access to the internet, while seventy-five percent of the same age group own cell phones. Seventy-three percent of teenagers have profiles on social networking sites like Facebook, with nearly half of them sharing photos of themselves.

What You Can Do to Protect Your Kids Online

What are the most up-to-date and effective internet safety tips for toddlers and tweens? I’ll provide you the most up-to-date safe surfing advice for children aged 12 and under. Take a look at my list of must-know essentials below:

Establish Ground Rules

Before giving your children access to a computer or mobile device, have an age-appropriate discussion about what they should and should not do.

To begin, set time limits for online use. When people’s time online isn’t wasted, they’re less likely to end up somewhere they don’t want to be.

Tell your children to communicate with you before giving personal information such as their names or addresses with strangers they encounter online. If they observe something that disturbs or worries them, they should inform you straight away.

Treating others online the way you’d want to be treated is another key habit to instill in your children. Anonymity on the internet can lead to people saying hurtful things they wouldn’t ordinarily say – even strangers.

Teach them to keep private info private.

Always insist that your kids never reveal their real names (first, last, or imaginary) or where they live, go to school, hang out or play. Any other personal or confidential information is subject to the same rules. Even if they kick and scream and roll their eyes, repeat this rule until they utter it in their sleep. Tell them not to divulge your or their siblings’ personal information while you’re at it.

Make use of the parental controls in your browser.

The Internet settings folder in most browsers (including Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, and Internet Explorer) allows you to simply set up security measures and content filters for profanity, nudity, sex, and violence. Alternatively, skip the filter tinkering and only let your kids use kid-friendly browsers.

Install content filtering software that is mature.

You can use software like Nanny play. The software detects and removes any hidden pornographic, violent, or otherwise shady web content. One can even view (and change) what kids see and do online when the babysitter is in control, thanks to Net Nanny’s remote administration tools. The same goes for the sitter’s online activities.

Don’t let your children shop online without your permission.

That was a mistake I made once. It’ll only happen once. You’d be shocked how quickly your debit and credit card numbers, including the crucial 3-digit security codes, can be memorized (or written down and hidden) by your children. If you do allow them to make an online purchase, enter your financial information while your mini-me isn’t there.