A Parent’s Guide to Keeping Kids Safe OnlineOct 29, 2022
While the internet can be a great source of educational, entertaining, and creative content that’s just waiting to be tapped into, it can also present risks to the physical and emotional wellbeing of your child too.
The good news is laws and regulations are starting to become stricter when it comes to the responsibility of businesses protecting our children’s privacy. As someone who grew up in San Diego, California and became a lawyer there, it’s great to see that the California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act is being introduced to offer greater protection to the data and privacy of children online.
However, despite the laws that are in place, we know there are threats beyond a violation of a child’s privacy. Because of this, it’s crucial that digital parents and caregivers not only protect their kids from the risks of the online world but teach them to keep themselves safe too.
Basic Tips for Protecting Your Child Online
Understanding what your child is accessing on the internet, how they’re doing it, and when, is important for understanding the specific risks that are presented by their preferred online activities. However, there are a few basic safety tips to remember, no matter how your child is using the internet.
1. Communication is key
It’s vital that as parents and caregivers, you can have honest and open communication with your kids about what they’re doing online. Not only is this so that you can have an appropriate overview of what they’re accessing and who they’re communicating with, it’s also so that your children can feel they can come to you if they experience something they’re uncomfortable with online.
2. Supervise screen time
With digital devices being increasingly portable, it can be tempting to allow your child to use them wherever they fancy. However, not only are you less likely to be able to monitor the amount of screentime they’re racking up, you’re also not going to be able to keep an eye on what they’re accessing or who they’re talking to.
Keep computer or laptop use to a central room or family space, where you can see what they’re accessing. You can also consider having a “no devices in the bedroom” rule to prevent unsupervised screen time.
3. Familiarize yourself with parental controls
Communication and supervision are great parenting tools to help protect your kids while they’re online. But parental controls can offer an extra layer of protection for your children, as even the most innocent of searches sometimes end up with inappropriate results.
Parental controls can often be device-specific, browser-specific, and platform/ app-specific.
Device-specific controls may help you to limit the amount of time your child can spend on (e.g.) a phone or tablet, as well as potentially restricting their access to certain apps or features that the device may have.
Browser-specific controls are likely to allow you to prevent your child from searching for certain types of content or accessing certain types of websites. Platform or app-specific parental controls (such as YouTube parental controls) are going to give you greater control over what your child can see or do on that specific platform.
Further guides to keeping kids safe online
I’ve created a series of guides for parents to the specific platforms and games that your child may be accessing or showing an interest in. These guides contain all the information you need to know to help protect your child while they are using them.
- A Guide to What Parents Need to Know About Minecraft
- A Parent’s Guide to YouTube & Parental Controls
- A Parent’s Guide to YouTube Kids
- Parenting in the Age of Social Media
You can also purchase one of my Digital Parenting Guide Books for more resources on how to be a responsible digital age parent or caregiver.
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