Keeping your children safe online

Keeping children away from the dangers of the Internet may seem like fighting a losing battle. However, sticking to a few basic guidelines can help you can educate your kids and keep them safe.

Educate yourself first

The Internet is a vast resource that can be used for both good and bad. It is crucial to be aware of what you are up against. Knowing what the Internet can offer, what mistakes should be avoided and what your children may potentially get their hands on, will get you in a lot more comfortable position to advise them. Special classes might be available in your region or you can take online courses, which will educate you about the Internet and provide some guidance on how to make sure your children are safe using it.

Communicate with your children

The main concern for you is the protection of your children while being online, so educating and talking to them about Internet safety is essential. They must know that they are always welcome to come to you if they have any worries or doubts, and should never be shy to ask any questions.

You should ask your children what they do on the Internet as well as what is the nature of websites they go to.

Provided that your children use instant messaging and chat rooms, be sure that they know the people they chat with. Do not let your kids meet people they have met on the Internet without talking to you first.

Social media services such as Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat are very popular among teens to keep in touch with their friends. However these sites might lead children into giving out personal information. On the other hand, these services also have privacy settings to assure that your profile could only be seen by people you know. As a parent, you should persuade your child to set up these privacy settings right.

When teaching your children, you should not only make them understand what inappropriate content is, but also make them aware that they should not run any unknown programs nor provide any personal information to people they don’t know.

Be vigilant

It may be a good idea to place your kids’ computers in a living room or another shared area to observe their web activity. This can be particularly important for younger children and may also help you educate your kids further.

Keep in mind that monitoring how your children use the Internet on mobile phones is much more difficult.

Take advantage of available solutions

There are applications specifically designed for parental control that may help you keep your children safe on the web. As kids get older, they eventually learn to trick parental control software. However, this can be really helpful to stop younger children from unintentionally stumbling across inappropriate content.

Get a VPN for your home computer and other devices. VPN will provide that extra peace of mind for you. It hides your real Internet location and transmits all the data you send and receive via an encrypted tunnel. This way, it keeps your private information and communications away from hackers, cyber-criminals, and other third parties.

Make sure that the search engine your kids use has a search filtering option enabled:

Some Internet service providers offer the possibility to run parental control / content filtering for your Internet connection. You may consider this solution as it is likely to be a lot more safer than a separate application.

Also, you should not forget to update your antivirus software regularly because your child might download an infected file. Without antivirus, it could jeopardize the security of your data.

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