Keeping kids safe on the internet is more important now than ever before. Young people and students have the right to access information, connect with friends, and share information online just like everybody else, but the reality is, being online without adequate safety measures in place can put them in a vulnerable position. In other words, they can be unsuspecting victims of online criminal activities such as malware and cyber bullying.
As such, it’s important to keep children safe online and, the good news is, through technology, this is certainly an achievable task. Technology has given us both the benefits and the dangers that come with the internet so, why not use it to gain the upper hand and protect children from cyber bullying and keep them safe on the internet in general? Try these tech-savvy tips to make the online world a safer place for your kids.
Fortify Your Household’s Internet Connection
Step one of keeping the internet safe for your children is to make sure you’re using reliable anti-malware products. This isn’t enough though—you must also make sure that you’re able to update them regularly. This is important since online criminals are always active in finding new ways to exploit operating systems and creating new types of malware, from viruses to worms and trojans. Updating the software means you’re prepared for the latest threats.
Turn on Parental Controls on Your Web Browser and Operating Systems
When you get your child their own smartphone, tablet, or laptop, make sure you set up the parental controls that are included with the operating system. For example, with an iPhone or iPad, you can set the device to enable restrictions, blocking certain apps or websites you don’t want your child to see or use.
This will allow you to filter out potentially harmful sites—and by extension, potentially harmful content—and prevent them from being seen or accessed by your children. You can also set the parental controls for whichever web browser your child uses. Every browser has its own instructions for setting up parental controls, so be sure to do the necessary research.
Use Time-monitoring Apps
While we encourage using the internet for entertainment and educational services, it’s also wise to set limits when it comes to usage. The idea is simple: the more time spent on the internet, the higher the likelihood of falling prey to online criminals and cyber bullying. Since kids are more active and curious online, this an important factor we shouldn’t ignore.
As such, one way to keep young people safe in the internet is to limit their screen time. There are available apps you can download that allow you to limit the amount of time your child is online. Even better, a lot of the parental control apps that limit screen time also have safety features such as web filtering, app blockers, and location tracking, boosting your child’s online defences even more.
Tweak Your Child’s Social Media Privacy Settings
A lot of kids’ social media usage is innocent, and they will likely spend most their time online playing games and chatting with friends. There are also things they’ll see on social media or elsewhere online that will make them uncomfortable—20% of eight to 13 year-olds have seen or experienced something online that bothers them.
A protective step parents can take is to set their child’s social media profiles to private. This will help you and your child control who sees their social profiles and who can interact with them online. You can also take further steps with some social networking sites. For example, Instagram will let you “Hide Offensive Comments” so your child won’t see anything negative or vulgar in the first place in the platform.
However, before you do this step, make sure to talk to your child first. We don’t want them feeling constrained or that we’re limiting their freedom. Highlight the fact that this is for their own good and that they can still enjoy social media and the internet even with changes in their privacy settings.
Use an Online Monitoring Tool Against Cyber Bullying
Having a social media monitoring tool for parents is another way to keep your children safer online. With a platform designed to protect kids, you can have peace of mind that any negative posts about your child or risky content are monitored, flagged, and blocked accordingly. By having a tool that monitors your child’s social media updates and both incoming and outgoing content, you will also have clarity as to what’s going on with your kids online, making it easier to keep the conversation about cyber bullying and being safe on the internet open and honest.
The internet and social media offer a wealth of information, entertainment, opportunities for kids to learn and have fun. That said, it’s also populated with cyber bullies and online criminals looking for more victims. As such, it’s wiser nowadays to look after your kids or students both offline and online.
This might seem like added responsibility for parents and teachers, but with platforms such as Starshell Student, protecting children and students online is made easier and more effective. Our platform acts as an online safety tool for students and children that monitors, filters, and blocks content that may be deemed as a form of cyber bullying and is based on education rather than punishment. Our goal is to make young people be responsible users of social media, and you can join our cause by becoming a member.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us today to learn more about keeping your children safe online.