Online Safety Information for Parents from WiredKids
We’ve heard a lot about the dangers of Internet use and how the law is working to combat these risks, but what can parents do? A lot. The following is a guideline for parents to address many of the problems that have been talked about.
Online Safety Guidelines for Parents
- Personal information stays personal. While this is an important rule for children, it’s also an important rule for parents. Giving information on your family and your children to the wrong person could be dangerous.
- Make sure your child doesn’t spend all of his or her time on the computer.
- People, not computers, should be their best friends and companions
- Keep the computer in a family room, kitchen or living room, not in your child’s bedroom. This way parents can monitor what is happening when the child is online. Knowing you are watching, kids are less likely to put themselves in risky situations and you can safely oversee what’s going on.
- Learn enough about computers so you can enjoy them together with your child.
- Watch your children when they’re online and see where they go.
- Make sure that your children feel comfortable coming to you with questions. This should apply to all situations including the computer. If your children feel they can trust you they are more likely to come to you with tough problems and questions.
- Keep kids out of chat rooms or websites with a live chat feature unless they are monitored.
- Be mindful of "On line" video games that have a chat and voice chat feature. These types of games are widely available for computers and console type games (Xbox, PlayStation, etc.).
- Familiarize yourself with how to operate parental controls on console devices such as Xbox, Wii, PlayStation, etc.
- Encourage discussions between you and your children about what they enjoy online. This way you can direct your children to safe sites that fit in with their interests and it helps our children know that we want an active roll in their lives.
- Discuss these rules, get your children to agree to adhere to them, and post them near the computer as a reminder.
- Help them find a balance between computing and other activities.
- Remember to monitor their compliance with these rules, especially when it comes to the amount of time your children spend on the computer.
- Get to know their "online friends" just as you get to know all their other friends.
- Warn them that people may not be what they seem to be. I can say I am a 12-year-old boy named Billy, but I’m not. The Internet provides cover for people to put whatever personas they desire. Predators often pose as children to gain our children’s trust.
- If necessary, install a 3rd party program for regulating and monitoring your child's activity. A simple Google search can yield several products.
- If your child has their own cellular "Smart" phone, monitor what apps they have installed and discuss their use with your child.
- Consider activating "restrictions," if available, on your child's phone to restrict access to certain apps, features, and content. Your provider and/or phone manufacturer should be able to provide information specific to your particular device.