Are You a Parent of Internet Loving Kids? Here are 10 Online Monitoring Tips You Can Use to Keep Your Child Safe
It’s difficult for kids not to love the internet. With the innumerable opportunities it presents as a source of information, entertainment and communication, the internet is just too good to pass up. Unfortunately, it is also a means with which kids can access the kind of information that can mislead or harm them in the future. If you are a parent of internet loving kids, here are 10 online monitoring tips you can use to protect them:
1. Agree on what sites they can access and which ones they can’t.
Before you allow kids to use the internet, agree on a set of rules first. This is important to establish what they can and cannot do, especially when it comes to accessing certain websites or communicating with certain individuals.
2. Install security software.
When you have internet loving kids, it’s almost irresistible for them to click on links and sites that offer plenty of games, music, images and download opportunities. The problem is, it can expose your computer to dangerous viruses and spyware. Security software will help prevent computer virus attacks and keep your computer safe.
3. Implement parental controls.
Use your computer system’s parental controls to monitor and regulate what your children accesses online. This will prevent them from viewing websites that contain inappropriate content. If you’re unsure how to use parental controls on your system, check your vendor’s website for tips and advice.
4. Use ISPs that provide parental controls.
There are internet service providers like AOL and MSN that offer parents a means to monitor and restrict their children’s activities online. You might want to check with your ISP to see if this service is being offered.
5. Use filters.
Parents with internet loving kids frequently use content and spam filters. These filters help block content such as texts and images that contain inappropriate material. They can also prevent spam, which can both be nuisance and a threat, if they contain spyware or links to sites with materials of violent or sexual nature.
6. Keep the computer in a common room.
Since you cannot watch over what your kid does online 24/7, most experts recommend that you bring the computer out of their rooms and keep them in a public room, such as the living room or den. That way, kids will be reluctant to view websites with questionable content.
7. Use a common family e-mail user account.
This is a good idea for internet loving kids younger than 12, since parents can monitor the e-mails that they receive, particularly if they sign up for memberships to websites or enter games and competitions. In case there are e-mails that threaten, bully or sexually provoke your child, you will be aware of what they are and where they are from.
8. If your kid is a member of a social networking group, ask for his or her URL.
Social networking groups such as MySpace are popular with internet loving kids because they are given the opportunity to meet new friends, share news and gossip and even post and view personal photos. Each member of these groups is assigned his own URL or online address.
Ask what your kid’s URL is and access his webpage from time to time to check what images and information are posted. If you find something that you don’t approve of, immediately tell your child to remove it. Better yet, set the rules prior to posting to ensure that they never give out personal information or post photos that might embarrass them or encourage a stalker or pervert.
9. Limit your kids’ internet viewing time.
Although this can mean a lot of sacrifice for internet loving kids, it’s always best to set time limits on their online access. Designate a few hours per day for them to use the internet for either research or entertainment. If they need an extension, allow it only for school related work. Otherwise, don’t let them spend more time than is necessary online.
10. Become involved for your child’s welfare.
If you see something that is inappropriate or a practice by a website or your ISP that is unsafe, contact them immediately. You can also get in touch with websites and groups that advocate for children’s online safety. If you’re a parent of internet loving kids, you need to actively participate to ensure that they are kept safe and secure online.