Technology has become a central aspect in our lives. Many of us have several devices in our home for work, school, connecting with others, and entertainment. As much as the internet has become a resource, it can also carry risks. Here are some steps that you can take to ensure that your family is kept safe online.
Make it very clear to your kids what the expectations are when they are online as well as the consequences. This includes what websites they can visit, how long they can spend on the computer, and what social media outlets they can join. Be diligent in enforcing these rules and follow through with the consequences. Every time new technology is brought into the home, these rules should be looked at & adapted if necessary.
You need to make sure that you know what risks are out there. The more educated and aware you are, the more you can set up the proper protocols to keep your kids safe. Ask your kids to show you any apps they want to download and how they work. You should try everything out before allowing your children to use them.
Keep any computers that are connected to the internet in a central location in the home. This will allow you to check on your child often. If you have a laptop, make it a rule that it can only be used in public areas of the house (no bedrooms).
No matter how diligent you are, things may still find a way to slip through the cracks. Setting up parental blocks, either through your browser, router, or third party software, can stop little eyes from wandering where they shouldn’t. You can even block the internet all together during certain hours of the day or night.
Let your kids know that if anything happens on the internet that makes them feel uncomfortable or upset, they can and should always come to you. Ask questions and show interest in your children's online activity. The sooner you begin these conversations, the stronger they will become.