So much of our daily activity involves technology today, and it’s almost impossible to avoid the web. With kids as young as preschoolers using tablets and smartphones, parents have a new responsibility to keep them safe in the digital realm, as well as in the real world. Here are some smart ways to protect your child’s digital safety:
Track and monitor their activity regularly
It may feel like an invasion of your child’s privacy to access their messages and various accounts, but it’s your responsibility as their parent to ensure that they’re safe. Use a family monitoring app to track their activity online. You’ll be able to see if they install new apps, start adding new contacts, and receive messages or images from others.
Talk with them about cyber safety
One of the simplest ways to ensure your child’s safety is by talking openly and honestly with them about the types of potential threats that exist in the digital world today. Make them aware of some of the biggest dangers of social media and the internet. Discuss how you expect them to behave, and what the consequences are for not following the guidelines that you set.
Talk about cyber bullying. Cyber safety goes beyond cyber bullying, too. Kids have to understand that they need to protect their personal information while on the web and that they should never trust anyone that they “meet” online.
Only install apps that you trust and are comfortable with
There are literally thousands of apps available for download today, and the list of hot apps that kids may want to install grows every day. However, it’s important that parents only install apps that they feel comfortable with. Take the time to become knowledgeable about the ones that your child wants to use, and then decide whether it’s appropriate for them.
If you do give them permission to sign up for an account, make sure that you have the login information, and be aware of any fees or in app charges that can occur. Select just a few apps that you’re comfortable allowing your child to use, and stick with those. If they want to use new ones, they’ll need to come to you for permission before installing.
Be diligent about safety
Ultimately, it’s up to you as the parent to stay on top of technology changes and to adapt as needed to ensure the safety of your child. Be aware of new social media sites that your child might be using, have access to their accounts, and set up parental controls whenever possible. Let your child know that you aren’t trying to invade their privacy, but simply need to make sure that they’re safe and protected.
Unfortunately, digital security isn’t just a one-time thing that we can take care of, as you need to stay on top of it at all times. Check your child’s devices frequently, and keep their anti-virus software up to date on laptops and tablets. Diligence will pay off in the long run.
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