The Internet Age has brought about innovation, new career opportunities, and connection like never before. But it’s also brought on its own unique challenges, especially concerning parenting and safety.
Here are a few ways parents can protect their children online in this new era of connectivity.
Remember to also check out 5 ways to prevent cyberbullying.
Limit screen time and location
This might be the most straightforward… but can also be the hardest to do.
Set time limits for your child’s time spent on computers, phones, or tablets, and stick to it. This will not only prevent computer obsession, but will also help them with decision-making and prioritization skills. And in addition to screen time, screen location is also an important way to protect your children online. Restricting screen usage to common areas like the kitchen, living room, or playroom, ensures that their activities are out in the open and can easily be monitored by parents, babysitters, or older siblings.
Ask them questions or play games with them
Many parents have no idea what apps and activities their children are playing with online. For example, there are ‘calculator’ apps that actually hide a vault of (often explicit) photos. How would you ever know that your child was using it if you didn’t ask questions or get involved?
Learning about your child’s phone, computer, and Internet behavior can help you protect them against potential threats, and can also be a great way to bond. On a more positive note, you might learn that they’re interested in a particular subject and become encouraged to sign them up for an offline class or extracurricular activity.
Set content expectations
Before allowing your child to start a social media profile, email account, or have a cell phone, it’s important to let them know what is and is not appropriate to post. It’s common knowledge for most kids that explicit photos are unacceptable, but what about the things that aren’t so obvious?
It’s easy for children to forget that the Internet is not restricted to their friend group, so make sure they know that they shouldn’t talk about what school they go to, what neighborhood they live in, or their daily routine online. There are other things that you might decide are not allowed in your household, like photos of the outside of your home, photos of the family car, or even photos of you. Whatever your decision is on those topics, have a conversation with your children before they start their accounts so there are no surprises.
Follow the rules
Most social media platforms have a 13 year old age limit, and that’s done for a reason.
Encouraging your children to wait until they’re of age for social media accounts is an important way of protecting them online. The truth is, most children under the age of 13 have not yet developed the proper decision-making skills to manage such a public persona, and unfortunately, many bad people in the world prey upon those vulnerabilities. Waiting also teaches them patience and the importance of following the rules.
Know what’s being said about them online
The truth is, no matter how much you teach your children about protecting themselves online, sometimes children have a mind of their own, and may do things behind your back. And don’t forget about bullies, who may be saying things about your child online without their consent.
It’s important that you know what’s being said about them online at all times, so that you can monitor their activity and ensure their name or information hasn’t gotten into the wrong hands.
Our app makes that part easy.
The first step is to sign up for free here. Then, you’ll choose your child’s name as your search term, and we’ll send you notifications every time there’s a new result that appears about them on Google. You’ll then be able to mark the result positive or negative, and even report malicious results to Google for removal.
So remember that with Marple:
- Parents can always be on top of what possible bullies can find about your children on Google
- You can always check how the content about your children is positioned on Google’s search results
- You can report malicious content to Google for removal
Protecting your children online is a part of your responsibilities as a parent.