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How to Keep Your Kids Safe Online

June 29, 2013 at 12:55 PM

parental intelligence

The internet is a truly wonderful thing. Never in history has so much information been so readily available. All it takes is a query and a few pecks on a keyboard for a person to immerse themselves in books, videos, periodicals, tutorials and countless other forms of media. However, as information amasses in databases all across the web, so does material that is unsuitable for younger audiences.

To say the internet is a haven for smut and pornography would be an understatement. It is through a crude twist of human nature that offensive imagery and dialogue lurks around the corner of any web search. But, albeit gruesome, the seedy underbelly of the net exists and there’s little to nothing that can be done to wash away the filth.

But for kids, equipped with smartphones, iPods and full on social media presences, the internet is nothing but a rich media playground, ripe with games and funny videos of fainting goats. It is through rosy lenses that their generation looks, and it is because of their vulnerability, that they are blind to the parts of the internet that could void their innocence with a single click.

For parents, met with opposition from a growing youth culture dependent on the internet, the battle is fought through Parental Controls and moderation of browsing history. As a first line of defense, Parental Control software and ad-blockers can be effective, but it’s important to consider how far the vast recesses of the internet can reach.

Unfortunately, Home security is no longer restricted to the material world; dangers loom on the internet that can be just as damaging as a break-in or theft. As technology continues to become handheld, families everywhere are welcoming potential threats into their homes by way of their children’s fascination with the digital age.

Attempting to monitor your children’s internet activity via a laptop or desktop computer can often prove challenging, and it grows increasingly difficult for parents to put restrictions on their kids as they grow more independent at a younger age. Thankfully, Parental Intelligent systems are usually an easy and effective fix and top parental controls and monitoring tools. 

Of course, nothing can top good old-fashion communication and parenting. The best way to alert children to the depravity of the internet is by opening a dialogue and discussing how to safely conduct themselves online. Reiterating to them to never give out personal info, no matter the circumstance, is a great way to get started. Although the internet is a marvel of modern technology, many of these older, tried-and-true rules still apply and are a great jumping off point into a deeper conversation.

Whatever your personal restrictions may be, be thorough in your explanation and use terms that your child can understand. You don’t want to muddy up the message or be unclear, so be concise and to the point. The internet is definitely a new frontier and you don’t want your loved ones getting lost out there. But if you give them the right tools, and instill the right moral obligations in them, they should be safely surfing in style in no time.

Family structures are changing. Learn how to be a good digital parent and keep your kids safe with this infographic.

-Article Contributed by Naomi Broderick

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Tim Woda

Written by Tim Woda

Tim Woda is an Internet safety expert, and a passionate advocate for empowering families and protecting children from today’s scariest digital dangers. Woda was on the founding team of buySAFE, an Internet trust and safety company, and he started working on child safety issues after his son was targeted by a child predator online. While his son was unharmed, the incident led Woda to kick-start uKnow.com. You can follow Tim on Twitter or on his blog.

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