A lot of kids these days are extremely technically savvy, since they are exposed to computers and tablets from a very young age. This comfortable familiarity with computers and the Internet is an important life skill, but there are also drawbacks and dangers that can be associated with their online explorations. Here are some tips to help you keep your children's Internet usage under control.
1.) Keep The Computer In An Open, Visible Location.
Set up the computer the kids will use in an open area, where you can easily walk by and see what they are doing. This makes it natural and easy for you to monitor what they're up to, without having to walk up behind them in the other room. In just an instant, you can check on what's happening, and see whether they're really working on what they should be. Knowing you could walk by at any time also acts as a natural deterrent for the child, making them less likely to visit a site they shouldn't.
2.) Set A Fixed Computer Schedule.
Give your kids certain fixed hours when they are allowed to use the family computer, or play games on their tablet. It is healthier for them to lead a well-rounded life, rather than spending all of their time online. If they can't be on the Internet all the time, they will be more likely to go out and play with friends, carry on a family conversation, or even read a book.
3.) Set Up Parental Controls.
All of the major Internet browsers today have the ability to set up parental controls. This lets you set up filters that will prevent them from seeing sites with sex, violence, nudity, or crude language. You can also block specific websites that you don't want them to visit. You have flexible settings that you can arrange as you like, and then the settings are protected with a password that only you know. Though your children may be frustrated at not being able to visit certain sites, you have the peace of mind that you are keeping them away from inappropriate content.
4.) Monitor Their Social Media Posts.
Seeing what your kids post on social media sites is a good step toward keeping them safe, but you don't want them to feel like you are spying on their activities. Before you set up a profile of your own and start commenting on their posts, you need to have a conversation with your children about it. Let them know that your intention is to protect them, not to spy on them. If you have an open, trusting relationship with your kids, they will be much more receptive to this.
5.) Maintain Open Lines of Communication.
Have a talk with your kids about the potential dangers on the Internet. Let them know about keeping their personal information private at all times, and not sharing inappropriate details or photographs on a public website. Warn them about strangers who may attempt to contact them via social media, and let them know that cyber bullying sometimes happens. Encourage your child to talk to you if they ever find anything alarming or confusing, or if they just have questions or concerns. That open communication can go a long way in keeping your children safe.