“Kids nowadays are acting like young adults online — just give them an Internet-connected device, and they will find a way to things parents would like to ban forever,” says Catalin Cosoi, a Chief Security Strategist for Bitdefender.
According to a USA Today survey, children as young as six are viewing adult material online and a quarter of children lie about their age in order to access inappropriate websites.
One of the simplest ways to keep your children safe online is to be with your child anytime she uses the Internet. Simply monitoring kids technology use can greatly increase their safety online. Tablets, smartphones and laptops can be great for adults, but they can be dangerous for children – limiting your child’s Internet use to desktop computers that are located in a public space in your home is a safer option.
Although physically being with your children is the most effective way of monitoring kids online, it is not always possible. For the times you are not with your child, many parents depend on Internet monitoring software, like Spector Pro or Net Nanny. These forms of technology are good, but not 100% effective, and it is still important to teach your child some do’s and don’t's to be safe online.
Make sure that your child:
- lets you have access to her email account.
- tells you immediately if a stranger contacts her online.
- shows you any inappropriate emails or spam mail they receive.
- discusses with you what they do online.
Make sure that your child does not:
- arrange an in-person meeting with anyone they met online.
- click on any hyperlinks.
- open any emails from unknown senders .
- use a webcam when speaking to anyone that you do not know.
- sign up for any new website without showing you it.
It may seem that the Internet is a dangerous place and the best way to protect your child is to toss out your computer, but the web can be a great resource for your child – allowing access to unlimited educational and cultural resources, learning technological skills they will need in the future and to have age appropriate fun with their peers. With a little parental guidance and with the knowledge of what is acceptable online, the mix of technology and kids does not need to be dangerous.