The Internet is a dangerous place for kids, no matter what their age, and as a parent it is your responsibility to ensure that they remain safe at all times when using the Internet.
This article will explore three of the main things that you as a parent ought to know about keeping your young child safe from harm on the Internet.
Four things you must know before your child uses the Internet:
The dangers are very real: Although it is difficult to get accurate statistics for young children harmed through Internet activity, it’s easy to see how many families have been affected. From cyber bullying to child pornography, there is a frightening array of ways that your little one can get into trouble online. One of the most important things to realize is that children can stumble into trouble quite easily and accidentally. Anybody is vulnerable, even adults.
Protection is cheap and easy to set up: Parental control comes in many different forms; from the pricey top-of-the-range software packages to free parental control software downloads. And they are easy to setup too! Some of the better parent control software tools include porn blockers (essential for avoiding inadvertent exposure to images that may scar them for life), Internet filters, usage trackers and more. Net Nanny is one of the best-known software tools for concerned parents, but there are plenty of free products that work just as well, especially for younger kids.
Ground rules must be set early and strictly enforced: When it comes to laying down the law; it’s important to take full control from the beginning. This means supervising all computer time and no negotiating changes in the rules. Age appropriate computer activity for a 3 – 6 year old child shouldn’t involve any activities that may expose them to harm. Rather keep them on your lap and engage in simple games or explore nature videos together. Speak to your child’s teacher for guidelines on Internet usage that is appropriate for their age.
Check your own Internet use: While it’s good to be in tune with what is happening in social media, it can cause problems of its own. Overzealous parents can inadvertently share a little too much in the form of blog posts, twitter tweets, Facebook updates or a myriad of other online avenues. Child predators scour the web for information about their next victimsâ€¦ Do not let your child be endangered by your online presence and sharing.
Remember that many of the rules you set now will become the baseline for their Internet activity in later life and you can be sure there is a lot more to worry about when they hit the teenage years and begin actively seeking out mischief online!
Use the information outlined in this article to ensure that your little one is kept safe from harm whilst enjoying the Internet, and pave the way for a lifetime of safe Internet practices.