How to help children stay safe online

The internet is an important part of most people’s lives, including children's. In fact, children may find that the Internet is a crucial part of growing up, and that learning how to interact with others online is just as important as learning to interact with others in real life. However, if you are going to allow your children to use the Internet, you also need to know how to keep them safe. Here are some ways that you can help them.


Install anti-virus protection and parental controls

The easiest way to keep your children safe from many of the hazards of the Internet is simply to install anti-virus protection and parental controls, which will protect your computer from viruses as well as block websites that may contain content that you don’t want your children to see. As your children get older, you will be able to work with them to decide which websites can be removed from the parental controls, so that you can teach them to take care of themselves online.

Since a lot of kids are on their phone these days, this is another thing to worry about. Fortunately, free spy apps exist that can help parents monitor their children's activities and make sure they're staying safe.


Talk to them about the dangers of the Internet

It is far better for you to educate your children on the dangers of the Internet than simply to rule over them and decide what they can and cannot see. Sit down with them and discuss what the dangers of the Internet are. Talk to them about online predators, phishing scams and hackers, allowing them to take the precautions they need to stay safe on their own.


Discuss privacy with them

Tell your child about the importance of keeping their identities as private as possible online. If they want to set up an account somewhere, or a social networking page, perhaps sit down with them and go through the steps, so that you can tell them where they need to be most careful, and what is and is not OK to put online. This will help your child to better understand the dangers of putting certain information online.


Discuss bullying with them

If your child is being bullied online, they should know that they can come to you and what they can do to stop the bullying happening. Even more importantly, if you have discussed online bullying with them, it should hopefully make it much less likely that your child will be involved in bullying as a bully rather than a victim. It is all too easy to get sucked into cyber-bullying as a child or teenager, so talking to your child about this can be helpful.


Ask for their passwords

If you decide that your child is old enough to have social networking accounts of their own, but are not ready to trust them completely on their own, ask for their passwords for the time being. You can then log on periodically to check that they are being safe online and that there is nothing to worry about. Knowing that you have their passwords should also stop your child from engaging in any activity that they know is wrong.