It has never been more important to make sure that your kids are safe online. You hear about high-profile incidents, such as the so-called “Momo Challenge”, which circulated recently. But, you pray that nobody will prey on your little ones.
However, you can’t simply bury your head in the sand on this issue. As a mom, you need to be on the ball so you don’t have to keep fretting over the kids’ tablet time.
Prevention is always the best line of defence when it comes to online safety. So, here’s how to make sure your kids are protected at all times when they are using a mobile device, games console or computer:
It’s vital that you know what kind of threats are out there. Ensure you’re aware of the dangers your kid might face online. Here are a few examples:
- Exposure to dangerous games and challenges on sites such as YouTube
- Inappropriate videos or images
- Clicking on harmful ads or links
- Stranger danger and cyberbullying
When you know what you’re up against, it’s easier to protect your family.
Talk to your child
Make sure your kid knows that they can speak to you about absolutely anything concerning their online activities. This way you know that if they encounter any malicious individuals, they won’t keep it bottled up but rather come to you for help.
It’s a good idea to take an active interest in what games or apps your child is using. My son is an avid gamer and it is my number one priority to ensure he is safe while gaming. When I spoke to him about his favorite games he was super excited to teach me how to play Roblox. This was my way in. When you talk to your kid about their online experiences, they are more likely to be open and share any issues with you in future.
Create accounts together
Games, social media and other apps often require an account. If your child is young, it’s best to use your own details to set up the account, i.e. a username or email address and password. For older children, at the very least make sure you know your kid’s log-in details so that you can access or monitor their accounts at any time.
Set parental controls
You don’t have to be a computer whizz to set parental controls on the devices your kid uses. Thankfully, a lot of companies make it easy for you to do so, with clearly marked parental controls settings, as they know how important it is. For instance, on a Kindle Fire, you simply go to settings and there is a section labelled “Parental Controls”, in which you can set a password to restrict purchases, web browsing and so on. It’s that simple. And if you really don’t know how to use your tech, get a friend, relative or your partner to help you out.
Have clear boundaries
Finally, it’s key that you set clear boundaries for your child as to what they should and shouldn’t access. This includes apps, games, websites, streaming services and video content. You may also want to restrict device use to communal areas in your home. This makes it easy to keep an eye on what your little one is up to.
Furthermore, you may wish to restrict your child’s screen time. It goes without saying that less screen time means less opportunity to access harmful content. Plus, it gives you the chance to do fun offline activities with your kid.
Honestly, in this day and age, you can’t avoid technology altogether. But what you can do is protect your kids when they are using it. Now it’s over to you to put the appropriate measures in place. Do you have parental controls set up on all of your household devices? Do you know your kids’ log-in details?