In the real world, what you need to do to keep your kids safe online may seem pretty straightforward. When kids are online, however, the dangers aren’t quite as obvious. But they’re still very real.
Here are a few safety tips you can use to try to keep your kids safe online:
Check Out Media Safety Ratings
Take the time to check on the themes and ratings of the video games and movies your children are watching online.
Video games are rated by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), ranging from E (everyone) to A (adults only), with content descriptors highlighting why the game has been rated as it has. Meanwhile, movies are rated by the Classification and Ratings Administration (CARA) and which includes explanations about what determines a rating. They range from G (general audiences) to NC-17 (no one under 17).
Monitor Online “Friends”
Not all of the people who are friends with your child on social media have good intentions. Bullies, trolls, and online predators take it for granted that parents don’t keep a close eye on their children’s social media. That’s why it’s good to establish a transparency policy with your child when it comes to social media.
While you don’t want to constantly invade your child’s privacy, you should periodically check on the identities of any social media friends who you don’t really know. If it turns out that if a contact is an adult stranger, you may have cause to worry…and reason to have your child unfriend them immediately.
To verify an online friend’s identity, you can use an online people search. (Note: Due to privacy rules, you cannot use this kind of tool to get information about children under 18; only adults.)
Use Technology to Teach Kids About Safety
There are lots of interactive games and movies that are appropriate for children, and that has been developed specifically to teach kids more about safety in a variety of online and real-world situations. Children who enjoy video games, in general, are more likely to react positively to this approach, feel more engaged in the topic, and actually retain the information better.
Kids can learn how to practice cyber safety, road/automotive safety, food safety, how to act in case of a fire or medical emergency, and so forth. Simply do a web search for the specific topic–i.e., “interactive cyber safety games,” “interactive fire safety games,”—and you are sure to find several options.
Make Online Time Family Time
Work and other obligations may keep you from spending as much time with your kids as you’d like. But as time permits, why not involve yourself in the technology that your children love? It’s a great way to spend some quality time together with your child, while also ensuring their safety online.
Featured Image by Виктория Бородинова from Pixabay