Should My Child Be On THAT Website? 6 Tips for Busy Parents
The Internet in general is a great asset for parents and kids alike, but that doesn’t mean they should be given free reign to wander all over the World Wide Web. When you’ve got worries about a particular site your child is frequenting, keep these six tips in mind.
1. Set Up Separate Accounts
Use different user accounts on your home computer(s), your tablets and mobile devices, when possible.
This makes it easy to put different security settings in place. You should be able to lock the browser on your kids’ accounts to only enable “SafeSearch,” to block certain sites, or even to block any site that isn’t specifically approved (for the real youngsters).
2. Talk About Pop-Ups
Make sure kids know the difference between the sites they open and the ones that open for them. A few quick conversations about pop-ups—and some ongoing reminders—can go far in making sure they’re only visiting kid-safe sites.
3. Review Browser History and Check Out Sites
It doesn’t take long to look over the list of sites your kids have been visiting. It’s the best way to know what sites they’re going to and what they’re saying and doing online. Privacy becomes a bigger concern as kids get older, of course, so use your judgment to know when to back off, and be sure to have plenty of talks with your teens about using proper judgment on social media.
4. Let Kids Know You’re Peeking
Be honest about the fact that you’re looking at browser history. Not only will it prevent most unwanted poking around, but it’s way better for building trust than snooping around.
5. Use Parental Controls
It might seem odd to have this so far down the list when the major ISPs and major browsers all have free and easy-to-use parental controls available. While these controls are useful, they aren’t always the best to rely on. Definitely take advantage of their ability to automatically block the most kid-unfriendly sites out there—porn, gambling sites, etc.
Keep in mind that they can also block a lot of other sites you might not object to, and that might frustrate your kids’ attempts to seek out information. Be ready to tweak the settings and approve a bunch of sites the controls find questionable, but parental controls are a quick way to get started on your kids’ online safety.
6. Be Open to Talk and Try Not to Worry
This last tip is really more a general parenting thing, not just a tech concern.
Talk to your kids about why online safety is important, and about why there are certain sites you don’t want them visiting. Age-appropriate conversations about good sites and bad sites will help keep them on board rather than feeling like they’re the outlaw and you’re the watchful sheriff.
The openness will also allow you to trust your kids a bit more and worry a bit less. The world—and the world Wide Web—are actually pretty safe as long as everyone stays aware.
Don’t forget to share this article with other concerned parents!