picture of a young girl in front of a computer

Once the Internet of Things is fully integrated into our lives, children will have more chances to go online. How can parents ensure that kids are surfing the web safely? In this article, we break down the questions of digital security to help you keep your kids safe online.

Get Your Child Acquainted With The Internet

Many parents tend to make the same mistake. They get kids smartphones and give them freedom regarding how they use them. As children don’t know about security threats and malware, they won’t be able to protect themselves when, for example, their online account is hacked.

Instead of letting your child do what they want, help them to find out how to use the Internet and social media wisely. Walk them through the setup process and show how to create an account online. Also, provide some instructions considering online credentials. Make sure the child knows that they should use strong passwords and never give out their personal data to strangers.

Be A Good Example

While we tell our kids to be cautious online, we don’t often follow the rules of online safety ourselves. Some adults share an enormous number of photos. They post pictures of their great families, fancy cars, and vacays spent on a tropical island. Sometimes they even share embarrassing photos and videos of their kids.

According to the survey, conducted by VotesforSchools, only 55% of parents don’t upload content showing their kids on their social media accounts. It occurred that children don’t like “sharenting”.

It would be best for you and your child to edit privacy settings and make your posts visible to friends only. Also, show your child the pictures you already posted and delete any if your kid doesn’t like it.

If there are rules about device use in your house, make sure to follow them too. No phone after 9 pm? Don’t show disrespect to your kids by using your smartphone when they aren’t allowed to do that.

Teach Kid To Be Responsible For What They Post

Internet is an immense source of information, where anyone can find what interests them. You can google up your own name and stumble upon dozens of pages that contain information about you. It’s high time to acknowledge the fact that anything we post online stays forever.

The things your child shares may not seem appropriate, for example, for a college instructor. Even sending disappearing texts in Snapchat won’t guarantee complete privacy. Anyone can make a screenshot of the secret text message, Instagram story or any other content shared by your child.

Tell your kid about responsible sharing. Also, make friends with your son or daughter on Facebook and other social media platforms to know what they post. If your kid refuses to add you to their friend list, you can tell that it’s the only way you can allow them to use the platform.

Set Reasonable Time Limits

To prevent your child from spending too much time online and oversharing, you can set restrictions considering Internet use. Spoken rules aren’t often that powerful. So, it’s better to establish screen time restrictions on the device of your child.

Apple devices have Screen Time controls. It allows you to limit apps by categories as well as add limits to individual apps that your kid overuses. You can set a parent passcode to prevent your child from altering the rules. When a child reaches the preset limit of time, they can request more time. You will receive a request notification on your phone and can either allow it or deny.

Android also offers parents the tools to control how much time their children spend on the mobile phone. Install Family Link app to set allowances and restrictions on your kid’s device. By applying daily limits, you can cut down the time your son or daughter spends online to 2 hours a day. You can also lock the child’s smartphone during lessons or bedtime.

Another method to manage your kid’s screen time is to use parental controls such as mSpy. This digital safety tool is compatible with both Android and iOS devices. Using mSpy, you can block apps and websites, ensuring 100% digital detox for your child during night time.

Warn Your Kid About Suspicious Strangers

Some time ago, strangers only reached children on the streets. Now, it’s possible to interact with any kid on social media. Recall how many times have you been contacted by a stranger online? Can we expect our children to be cautious when we aren’t paying enough attention to digital threats from random people?

Being a little bit more careful about emails and texts you receive, you can protect both your and your kid’s sensitive data. Teach your child to ignore the emails if they don’t know who the sender is. Also, tell them to avoid downloading suspicious attachments, as they may contain malicious software.

Some people may create a fake online account and even steal someone else’s photos to pretend to be someone who they aren’t. This phenomenon is so frequent online, that has its own name now – catfishing. Warn your child about catfishing. Ask them to inform you about every case when a stranger tries to connect with them. Make sure your kid can tell the difference between a friendly person and a scam.

Don’t Overdo With Restrictions

It’s good to have full control of what your child does online. With modern tools and apps, you can control the kid’s screen time and react instantly when there’s a threat. But, as we mentioned earlier, setting reasonable restrictions is important.

Locking your kid’s phone and imposing strict bans, you won’t keep your child safe. Such harsh measures may have a reverse effect. If you block access to the Internet in your house, your kid may go to a local café and connect to the public Wi-Fi network, exposing their data to security risks.

The restrictions can make your child even more inventive with methods and solutions to overcome bans. The only way to maintain online safety is through constant communication with your child.

Discuss the measures your kid can take to keep their online data safe. Be open about your digital habits and tell about the threats and risks you have stumbled upon when browsing the web. An honest conversation will help your child understand why you are concerned.

Final Advice – Give Your Child Some Freedom

It is a fact that children spend a lot of time online. Although many parents tend to be excessively concerned about it.

Being an active user of the Internet, a kid can also be active in other spheres of life. If your child is a thorough student, who takes part in extracurricular activities and have a wide circle of good friends, then you shouldn’t worry at all.

Internet is an essential tool for today’s children. We didn’t have the World Wide Web when we were kids, so it’s odd to accept the modern way of living when you can access the Internet anywhere. But you have to understand your kid’s needs. They need to maintain communication with peers online, and their social media image is important to them. The Internet plays a considerable role in the self-education of the child.

As a parent, you can try to prevent your kid from overusing the Internet and the media. But you shouldn’t completely ban smartphones. Give your child the freedom to choose how to spend their spare time. Respect your kid’s willingness to be present online.