School is letting out for summer vacation and that means lots of free time for kids. Parents all love hearing “I’m bored!” just hours into vacation. With so many great technology choices it makes for lots of options for keeping the kids busy. However, all parents know there are some parts of the Internet they don’t want kids exploring. Here are 5 great tips for keeping kids safe online all year long.
#1 – Talk with your kids! The dangers of the Internet are very real, but arming your kids with knowledge can be one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal. These should be very age appropriate discussions. For instance, for a 5-year old you can give instructions as simple as, “If you see someone without their clothes on, turn the computer or device off immediately and come get mom or dad.” Or, “If you see someone being mean to someone else, make sure you show a grown up.” As your kids get older, the discussion can change accordingly. But starting the discussions early is important. You can choose – you can teach your kids – or else the Internet can teach them!
#2 – Install filtering at the network level to filter all of the devices in the house. Choose a powerful option like the Clean Router. The Clean Router allows parents to manage all of the devices in the house with one central control. It filters and manages everything connected to your home WiFi so you don’t have to worry about any content you deem inappropriate leaking through on a device you hadn’t or couldn’t download filtering software to.
#3 – Make sure that Internet usage is done in the open. Make sure that family computers are located in high traffic areas. Make sure that laptops and tablets are not used in bedrooms or private parts of the house. This keeps kid’s online activities open for discussion and much easier to keep an eye on.
#4 – If chores aren’t completed change your WiFi key and don’t give it to the kids until those chores are done! With most routers this is a very simple task that can be done in a few minutes and can be a very effective way to motivate kid to get chores or homework or whatever finished!
#5 – Make sure you have all of your kid’s social media passwords and check their social media accounts regularly. If kids know you are looking at what they are doing on the different social media platforms they will be much less likely to be talking to people they shouldn’t or taking part of cyberbullying or other behaviors that they know you wouldn’t approve of. This is a digital world now – so be a part of their digital lives!