Keeping your kids safe online is likely to be something you are very concerned about as a parent, but you should try not to worry too much because it’s actually pretty simple to ensure the kids aren’t being exposed to anything they shouldn’t be…

  1. Open the Dialogue Early

Start talking to your kids about online safety as soon as they can navigate a tablet better than you can. Keep the conversation ongoing; it’s your best tool. Think of it as the digital birds and the bees chat.

  1. Get Tech-Savvy

It’s going to be pretty hard for you to keep your kids safe online if you don’t understand the tech they are using to access the internet, or what they do once their online, either. So, updating your own tech skills is a must when you are a parent. In particular, you are going to want to find a way to understand the platforms and apps your kids use—from TikTok to Twitch. You don’t have to be a pro, just informed.

  1. Teach Them About Privacy

Explain why privacy matters. Personal information should be treated like their favourite toy—kept safe and not shared with strangers.

  1. Monitor Search History (Casually)

Keep an eye on their internet search history. Don’t be all cloak-and-dagger about it; be upfront that you are going to take a look now and again, so the kids know that you’ll know what they are looking at. It’s about guidance, not espionage. If they’re thinking “who can see my search history?” then you know that they’ll on their best behaviour. 

  1. Set Up Safe Searches

Most search engines, including Google, give you the option to set up safe searches, and this will do a pretty good job of filtering out any content that you do not want your kids to see. Having this turned on is, then, an easy way to keep things safe, but of course, older kids may know how to turn it off, so you need to keep monitoring!

  1. Use Parental Controls Wisely

Parental controls are something you should get very familiar with as soon as your kids start accessing the next. You can use them to block any dodgy content the kids might stumble across in such a way that the router will automatically block them and notify you. You can also use them, to limit screen time and manage online privacy, so they are vital.

Girl on laptop

  1. Establish Ground Rules

Create a set of family rules for internet use. Include things like time limits, what types of sites are okay, and what personal info should never be shared. Post them near the computer—it’s a reminder that these rules are non-negotiable.

  1. Encourage Critical Thinking

Teach your kids to question what they see online. Not every YouTuber is an expert, and not every meme speaks the truth. Critical thinking is their shield against misinformation.

  1. Watch Out for Cyberbullying

Discuss cyberbullying: what it looks like and what to do if they encounter it or—gulp—participate in it. Make sure they know they can come to you with concerns.

  1. Be the Tech-Free Zone Advocate

Encourage offline activities. Remember parks, board games, and books? Yep, they still exist and they’re still fun. Plus, they give their eyes (and thumbs) a rest.

  1. Lead by Example

Your kids will mimic your digital habits. So, if you’re glued to your screen during family dinners, guess what? Time to model the behavior you want to see. Set the phone down and chat instead.

  1. Explore Kid-Friendly Browsers

Introduce your children to kid-friendly browsers that are designed specifically for younger users. These browsers restrict access to child-inappropriate content and simplify the user interface to help younger kids navigate more easily and safely.

  1. Promote Digital Literacy

Teach your kids the fundamentals of digital literacy. This includes understanding how algorithms influence the content they see, recognizing ads, and identifying credible sources. Digital literacy is as crucial as learning to read and write in today’s world.

  1. Create a Family Media Plan

Develop a family media plan that balances online and offline activities. The plan should address not only what types of media are appropriate but also when and where it’s acceptable to use devices. This helps set clear expectations and habits.

  1. Regularly Review App Permissions

Take time to review app permissions on your child’s devices. Many apps request access to information that they don’t necessarily need. Teach your children to be cautious about granting permissions without understanding what they entail.

  1. Know the Signs

Of course, you should also take some time to learn the signs that your child might be having issues online., From mood changes to secrecy and withdrawal from social settings, there are tons of indicators your kid might be struggling online, and if you know them, you can step in fast.

As you can see,  with the right tools and tactics, you can keep your kids safe in the cyber sphere, but you have to put the effort in!

By Mike

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