Tips on Keeping Your Child and You Safe on the Internet
It's important that parents take steps to protect their little ones online
2 May 2018
If you have a toddler, chances are they are fascinated by the computer. There's nothing wrong with letting them play, but you'll need to take steps to ensure they are safe while browsing and do not cause harm to your computer.
Children at this age begin to make greater use of computer games and educational products. Older children in this age range, with their parents, may also begin exploring online children's areas. Children learn intuitively and quickly, but at this age they still depend on parents for reading and interpreting directions.
What's the best age to teach your child about online safety?
Between the ages of four and seven, children begin to form their first friendships, grasp the basics of gender differences, and acquire morally relevant rules and behaviors. This is a good time to begin talking about rules for using the computer and going online.
Spend as much time as you can with your child while he or she uses the computer. Print work your child has done on the computer or resources he or she has found on the Internet. You and your child should have the same address, so you can oversee his or her mail and discuss correspondence. Check with your child's teachers and librarians for suggestions for good online activities.
Protecting your technology from little fingers
Children don't always stay where they are supposed to when playing their educational preschool games online. Although you'll be with them while they play, sometimes the phone will ring and you'll turn your back for just a second.
To avoid the terrible "blue screen error" or computer crash, you can use a separate Windows User account for your children. This account should not have a password and should not have "Adminstrator" privileges. Be sure to place a password on your account to prevent the little ones from accidentally using your account (where they can cause damage). Using the Windows Guest Account feature is a good option because it disables access to files.
Use parental controls/ filtering or monitoring technology which block access to dangerous sites and activities. There are various softwares available such as Google SafeSearch, CyberPatrol, Net Nanny etc.
Spend time online alongside your child and establish an atmosphere of trust regarding computer usage and online activities.
Monitor the amount of time your child spends on the Internet, and at what times of day. Excessive time online, especially at night, may indicate a problem. Remind your child that Internet use is a privilege, not a right.
Place your computer in an area of your home where you can easily supervise your child's Internet activity. If you allow your child to have a webcam, place it in a public area of your house.
Your own safety as an adult
While many news stories about Internet safety focus on children and teenagers, the fact is that adults have several risks when they go online, too. Crimes such as sexual predation don't just happen to yonug people; criminals don't only hang out on teen social networking sites; and an adult's personal, financial and social information and buying habits are of great value in the Internet's underground economy.
The Internet is a wonderful place for communicating and sharing with others; email, instant messaging, blogging, forums, chat rooms are all ways you can connect with people from around the world. However, you must consider how valuable the information is that you decide to share on the very public Internet. For instance, information such as your name, age, gender, email address, physical address, phone number and passwords are all very sensitive data, and you should deliberate cautiously whether you will reveal such information on the Internet. You never know, the information may fall into completely the wrong hands; for instance, cyber bullies may use information about you, against you or you may become a victim of identity theft, or fraud.
To avoid such an individual, or when dealing with them, you can follow these steps: keep all personal information or photos private so a bully can't abuse them; use technology tools to block anyone who is inappropriate or threatening; do not answer phone calls, messages, emails or comments from cyberbullies but do set them aside in case they are needed by the relevant authorities as evidence.