7 Simple Steps Parents Can Take To Enforce Mobile and Internet Safety

parent and child on computerTimes are quickly changing. Kids are facing a world with more access to global information and communication thanks to a number of technological advances and the development of various social networking sites and app connections. Cyberspace has afforded today's youth with the availability of digital communication and sharing, among other activities.

There are obviously many pros and cons concerning these advances, but the facts speak for themselves; youth use computers and mobile phones more today than they have ever done and at increasingly younger age ranges. Discussions on mobile and Internet safety are important in ensuring a safe and positive experience for your child and others.  

Check out these 7 simple things you can do as a parent to teach and enforce Internet and mobile safety:

  1. Set tech time limits. By setting limits to the amount of time your child spends on the phone or computer, you are also setting boundaries. Multiple studies show that too much time spent with technology can lead to poor social, physical, and mental health. Limiting cyber time keeps a child from becoming too involved online and can also enable them to develop a more balanced relationship with technology in the future. You may consider implementing tech-free zones in your house, which establish clear times and places where tech is permitted to be used.

  2. Establish rules about which sites and apps kids are permitted to use. Limiting access to the Internet and certain sites is also a good way to keep children from wandering into the unknowns of the cyber world. There are apps, parental settings and security for mobile phones and computers that limit what a child can and cannot view as well as alert you of your child's activities.

  3. Speak with your children. By openly communicating with your children about dangers and risks as well as sharing with them where you stand, you are letting them know that you care about their safety. Make them aware of real-life instances of online bullying and harassment, dangers and what sorts of sites to avoid in order for them to understand your concerns. While allowing children to surf social media sites and online games and chats may allow them to communicate with their friends, a plethora of strangers also lurk on the Internet and can create a danger to your child.  

  4. Keep computers and wifi devices within sight. By having a family computer in an open space, it is easiest to monitor your child's activities in a shared space. It cannot be reiterated enough how easy it is to come in contact with strangers on the Internet who can remotely become whomever they want to appear to be. It is important to be aware of who your child uses online sources and whom they communicate with.

  5. Teach your children how to use computers and smartphones for educational and enjoyable age-appropriate experiences. While there are obviously plenty of dangers that can stem from mobile and Internet use, there are endless amazing educational and creative resources available for all age groups. Help your kids cultivate a healthy relationship with technology by knowing how to avoid the risks and dangers, while reaping the benefits.

  6. Make sure your child's private and important information is secure and not accessible. It is surely easy for information to accidentally or potentially be shared whether through the possibility of an online stranger tricking children into sharing the information or through the download of a virus or other harmful software by the clicking of links on sites and programs. Make sure firewalls and security measures are always up-to-date and active.

  7. Be aware of your child's emotional changes.  A number of news articles in recent years have pointed to the depression and subsequent deaths of youth who were harassed and bullied online on popular social media sites, teased for sexting images to supposed mates who shared images with friends and classmates, and much more. Be aware of changes in your child's behavior, emotions and patterns. Spot potentially bad situations and prevent them from escalating as soon as possible. 

                      Internet Safety eBook                
We are pleased to announce that Bark will be taking over where we leave off. The uKnowKids mission to protect digital kids will live on with Bark. Our team will be working closely with Bark’s team in the future, so that we can continue making the digital world a safer, better place for kids and their families. While we are disappointed we could not complete this mission independently, we are also pleased to hand the uKnowKids baton to Bark.
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