Today’s guest post is written by David Cantor, who is involved with legal work involving sex crimes. David’s post not only provides a couple of concrete tips for a safer internet at home, it hopefully helps you pause and consider what safeguards you can activate in order to provide a safe and positive environment for your entire family regarding the Internet. If you would like to contribute a guest post, please check out the guidelines for more details.
The summer months mean time away from school for your child. Unfortunately, with the busy working schedules of most parents, it is often difficult to monitor what your child is doing online during the summer when you are not available to supervise. The Internet, while a wonderful tool for shopping, education, and social media, can be a dangerous place for children and teens. There are, however, a few tips to keeping your child safe online. By following these four steps, you can help to keep your child safe when using the internet.
1) Limit Access
Your child may not think it is fair, but by limited his/her access to the computer to only a short amount of time while you are home during the day, you can make sure that your child has supervised online time. By locking up the computer in the master bedroom or adding a log in password that only you know, you child will not only be less susceptible to online predators and misbehavior, but they will also get to spend more time outside in the summer, which can lead to a happier and healthier life.
2) Parental Controls
If your child uses the Internet for summer projects or correspondence with friends from far away, totally restricting computer use may not be the best course of action. Many web browsers will allow parents to set up customizable parental controls in the browser that will eliminate the possibility of your child stumbling onto inappropriate websites.
3) No Mobile Data
Mobile data plans for cell phones are great for busy adults who may need to access email and other online business tools on the go. However, your child does not need mobile Internet on their cell phones. They can text their friends and call you with their mobiles phones, but leave the mobile online access to the adults.
4) Social Media with a Catch
If your child is complaining that all of their friends are on Social Media websites and they are not allowed, grant them access with one condition: They must provide you with their username and password. That way, even if your child is permitted to be on the Internet at home while you are at work during the summer months, you can remotely check their social media home pages to make sure that they are only involved in appropriate and child friendly activities.
The Internet can be a helpful tool that is educational and fun. However, online bullying and Internet predators make most parents nervous about the idea of their child or teen using the computer with limited supervision during the summer. By following these four simple rules, however, your child can enjoy the Internet while you work without worry.