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When we were kids, the only dangers that stared us in the face were on the streets. As long as we were in our own homes, we were safe and our parents had no need to worry about us. Not anymore! Times have changed and with the internet being such a fundamental part of modern life, our kids are no longer safe even in their own homes.
However, children need access to the internet. It is an essential learning tool and their teachers will expect them to be able to use it for research and homework. It is also a great way for them to learn how to use computers. There’s absolutely no point in banning them from the internet altogether, but you absolutely must make sure that they are completely safe whilst they are using it. Here’s how:
Set the Rules
You need to have a discussion with your children about what constitutes good internet use. Tell them (without going into too much detail) of the dangers of speaking to strangers on the internet. Let them know the perils of clicking on unknown links, and make sure they understand that they should never ever give out personal information. Establish these rules early and keep the computer in a communal area so that you can keep an eye on what is going on. Child predators are extremely clever about how they hook young innocent kids in, so always err on the side of caution.
Install Parental Controls
You may feel like spying on your children’s internet use is a little underhand and perhaps it is. However, as long as they know that you are able to see everything they are up to, it should be enough to stop their curious little fingers from wandering where they shouldn’t. It is essential that they know you can see what they are up to, otherwise it is definitely bordering on the edge of underhand.
Parental controls actually prevent children from accessing certain sites altogether and if you don’t have some sort of controls in place, then you are without doubt putting your children in extreme danger. You have a responsibility to protect them and parental controls will help you do this.
Controls are completely flexible, meaning you can tailor your permissions to suit every age in the house. They can help you limit the amount of time your child spends online too. They have built in keyloggers which record conversations over email, instant messaging and social media, so you can make sure that your child is not involved in cyber bullying.
Give Them Their Independence
No child wants to feel like they are being spied on, so once the rules and agreements have been put in place; leave them to it as much as possible. Only if you are suspicious should you start trawling through their activity. If you trust them, tell them. It will let them feel independent and will be less likely to abuse your trust. Understand that children need privacy and ask them to understand that you need to keep them safe.
About the Author:
Today’s guest author, Jim Powell, is a software reviewer at Well Researched Reviews, a software reviewing firm. He enjoys cooking and trying new recipes and calling friends over for dinner as a leisure activity.