You can simply begin by letting your kids recognize the importance of protecting their personal information as well as yours while they are online. Make your kids understand that there’s really no need for them to divulge any kind of important information such as their address, phone numbers, or social security numbers. They should never give this important personal information to anyone online and that they need your permission if someone happens to ask for it. The reason being, people lie to commit fraud or even worse, child predators wanting more information to get to your kids.
You’ll want to further educate your kids about the importance of posting personal images or videos online too. It’s sad to say that this is something kids like to do without even giving it a second thought. For example, just visit any one of the popular social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube and etc., you’ll quickly notice just how many kids and teenagers are posting their personal images and videos of themselves online. This can be a very dangerous practice especially when details like a city or school are being revealed in the background. The predator now has a better idea of where your child is from and it just makes it easier for them to find and target. If your kids still really want to publish images or videos of themselves, make it a rule for them to get your approval first.
Make certain that your child understands that they are never permitted to meet someone in person whom they have only met online. This is a crucial point because it’s how many kids and teenagers become victims of these child predators who are lurking online. If indeed an in-person meeting must take place for a school assignment or something along that line, make sure you accompany your child, tell others of the meeting, and make it a public place.
A very popular place that child predators like to hang out online is in chat rooms. This is why very important for you to set rules and guidelines for the use of these websites. As a parent or guardian, it’s your decision to whether or not allow your kids to use them, granted some online education classes do require the use of such platforms. If that’s the case, it’s your decision to either monitor your kids or home-school them. If you do choose to allow your kids to use the chat rooms and social media websites, the very least you can and should do is to set their profile page to private so that only their classmates can enter the chats. It’s also suggested that you routinely monitor the websites your children visit to make sure your personal information has not been compromised.
Believe it or not, one of the biggest problems that many parents and guardians face is having to check-up on their kid’s online activities. It’s no big surprise that kids these days are a lot more tech and computer savvy than their parents are. The parental control can become quite the challenge, especially when your kids know how to erase their online history and you don’t. If this becomes the case, it just may be worth your while to further educate yourself and invest in some software that’ll give you more control. For example, some porn filter has the ability to block certain websites and restrict your kids from visiting them too.
By adhering to these simple Internet safety facts, rules and guidelines, you can rest assured that you’ve taken a big step in educating both yourself and kids to prevent them from becoming just another statistic of an online predator. Should your child or teenager encounter anything they’re not sure of, like being harassed or have inappropriate comments being made, make sure they understand that they should come to you and not simply ignore or delete the message. You should then take action to save the message as evidence and report it to the authorities. Bullying and threats shouldn’t be tolerated and protection may be available to you from your local police department.
As a final point, see to it that your children recognize all the rules and guidelines not only apply to their personal computer but should apply to every computer they use both at home or at public places such as schools and libraries.