With the volume of time kids are spending online, on computers, mostly unsupervised by adults, protecting their privacy and safety has become of huge importance. Here are some suggestions to help you with that issue (from the Ask a Tech Teacher team):
How Parents Can Protect Their Kid’s Privacy and Safety Online?
Many people witnessed the change in technology from dial-up modems to broadband. However, a child born in this technological era permeates every activity they do. Let’s face it, the internet is taking over the world and from school to home to playing games, children are spending more time online. You may notice that your child is shifting from one screen to another throughout the day, which puts their privacy at risk. It is highly important to understand children’s addictive behavior when it comes to technology. It’s important that parents monitor their children’s online activities and how long they spend on devices.
The internet is a vast space holding information pertaining to a variety of areas. This information exists in the form of images, text, and videos. While the idea sounds positive, it has a dark aside as well. That’s it’s important that you keep an eye on your child’s online activities. You need to protect your child from inappropriate content, malicious software, cyberbullying, phishing emails, and cyberstalkers.
You can increase online privacy and safety for your child by implementing specific techniques and tools. When it comes to keeping your child safe, it’s important that you take additional measures and spend some time learning online safety tips. Here are a few methods and techniques to protect your child’s privacy and keep them safe online. So let’s get started:
Use an Encrypted Network
When your child uses a public or home internet, their exposure to online content can be dangerous. Cybercriminals can access their information through an unencrypted network. When using a public network, your child is vulnerable to data theft and cyber-attacks. It’s highly possible that they venture onto websites that can access their data and use it for illegal activities. You need to understand the importance of data encryption while browsing online. Data encrypting tools encrypt your data in different forms. This way, even cybercriminals with advanced tools cannot breach and decode. This prevents them from intruding on your child’s privacy and spying on their online traffic. Protecting your kid’s online presence with a VPN is one of the best techniques you will find on the internet. Using a VPN service, you can encrypt data, even if your child is on a public network. This is an effective way to keep your child safe from cyberattacks.
Schedule Time Limits
Today, kids shuffle from one electronic device to the next, keeping their online presence at a maximum. Such recurrent behavior will prevent them from engaging in physical and creative activities. Furthermore, they will have a hard time going to sleep. Consistent exposure to internet content, especially if it’s not intended for a younger audience, can result in children developing anxiety, attention problems, and depression. To minimize this internet obsession, you can limit and enforce the number of hours they use the internet every day. Also, make some ground rules about what they should watch and what they shouldn’t. You can download parental control tools that enable you with screen time limit features.
Monitor Your Child’s Online Activity
The internet is rife with cyberbullying and online predators that can harm your child’s mental health. They might feel emotional distress and may even hide this situation from you due to guilt. A parental control application will help you monitor your child’s online activities. There are numerous tools available for parental control. With these tools, you can block various sites and apps, so your child can only access filtered content. Furthermore, these apps can also track your child’s location. That way, you can protect your kid from external threats and the influence of dangerous people. Also, you can choose various educational programs and appropriate content that enhances your child’s skills and abilities.
Learn Parental Control Tools
Even when you talk about responsible online behavior and screen-time limits with your child, you will find it hard to manage. You never know how your child uses the internet when you are away. Therefore, it is important to keep an eye on your kid’s online activities. The best tool to keep track of your child is a parental control tool. Using the tool, you can block inappropriate websites and filter the content your children watch. These tools enable you to monitor their mobile devices and computers, so you know whatever your child is doing online. Learning parental control tool is the first step to divert your child towards educational content and resources instead of browsing throughout the day. Many parental control tools will help you monitor the activities on social media platforms such as Facebook, TikTok, and Snapchat.
Educate Your Child about Privacy and Protection
When your child is online, they might share additional information. They can fall victim to cyberbullying and other activities. To keep your child away from these dangerous activities, you need to explain techniques to protect their personal data. Whether your child is buying a product online or web surfing, they should be aware of data protection. Start by encouraging them to identify the odd activities on the internet. Ask them to use secure passwords for online privacy and educate them about online privacy issues. Share some examples of the click baits, so they don’t explore that side of the internet.
Know Your Child’s Online Friends
As adults, we understand that everyone on the internet isn’t who they say they are. But your child may find it hard to identify people on the internet. They might make friends with any person who contacts them. This can put your child’s privacy at risk. Therefore, you need to keep a close eye on your children and whom they are talking to. Also, educate them about the consequences of chatting with dangerous people and what harm they can bring from an early age. Make sure that you know your child’s friends’ circle and monitor their activities on social media platforms.
While you can find plenty of educational content on the internet to help your child develop skills and talent, the internet is not all good. Numerous dangerous activities on the internet can put your child’s privacy at risk. Therefore, it is essential to adopt various measures and keep your child’s online presence safe and secure.
Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.