It’s no secret that the world our kids are growing up in today is a lot different than the one we grew up in however many years ago. While some things have greatly improved (such as seat belt laws), there is also a whole new set of dangers that we never had to worry about when we were kids. One such danger is the Internet.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the Internet. And quite honestly, between work and blogging, I’m on it pretty much all day long. The Internet is a fantastic way to get information, connect with friends, be entertained and even make a living. BUT it can also be dangerous for children who don’t yet realize how to use it properly or how dangerous it can be.
Should kids be on the Internet? Absolutely! But not until you implement every one of these five Internet safety tips for kids.
*This post contains affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure statement for additional information.
1. Set Up Parental Controls
First things first: Set up parental controls. Even if you trust that your children would never purposely go looking for questionable content, if you’ve spent any time on the Internet at all, you know that you don’t have to go looking for questionable content to find it. From an innocent search query with an inappropriate double meaning to a random pop-up on an otherwise acceptable site, you never know what sorts of things your children might accidentally stumble onto.
One Internet software you may want to look into in particular is Covenant Eyes. Not only can you use it to block certain sites, but it also generates a report of your family’s Internet activity so you can start a conversation and hold each other accountable. Plus, you can get 30 days free with coupon code “equippinggodlywomen” Click here to learn more.
2. Keep the Computer in a Conspicuous Location
Next, make sure that the computer is placed–and left–in a spot where family members can and do walk by all the time. If you have a generally pretty good kid, you don’t need to stand over his shoulder the entire time (and you shouldn’t). But he should know that someone could walk by at absolutely any minute and see what he is up to.
3. Teach Your Children About the Dangers of the Internet
Children don’t automatically know all of the ways they could potentially get into trouble online. You have to teach them. Sit down with your children to set ground rules. Here are just a few examples:
- Do NOT share your password with anyone outside of our family. Not even your friends.
- NEVER share personal information, such as your phone number, address or what school you go to with someone you don’t know or in a place where others could read it.
- Once you place something online, it is permanent. If you wouldn’t want your grandma to see it, don’t post it.
- Bullying will NOT be tolerated.
- NEVER meet someone you “met” online in person.
4. Stick to Kid-Friendly Sites Like HiFiKiddo
When your children are first learning to ride their bikes, you don’t put them on an adult bike and let them take off down a hill. You put them on a bike with training wheels and you walk along beside them. It should be the same way with the Internet.
If your children are begging to be able to use social media to connect with friends and family, don’t let them start off on one of the big sites like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram where any random stranger could friend request or follow them. Instead, choose a social media site designed specifically with children in mind so that that your children can learn how to behave online in a safe and family-friendly atmosphere.
If you have children between the ages of 4 and 12, HiFiKiddo is the perfect social media site for them. With advanced parental controls for safety, but still a good degree of independence, your kids will love it and you will too. Find out more in my HiFiKiddo review.
5. Keep the Lines of Communication Open
Lastly, make sure that no matter what happens, your children know that they can come to you with anything. Of course, you won’t want to wait for “anything” to happen before you have a serious talk. Keep the lines of communication open and talk with your children regularly. This way you can help guide them and shape them as they learn how to participate in the online world, without just throwing them out there to defend for themselves.
How old are your children? Are they allowed to get online? What measures have you taken to keep your young ones safe online?