Eight Tips For Keeping Your Kids Safe in a Digital World
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I think there is one thing all parents can agree on, raising kids in a technology-driven world can be hard. The one thing that can be said about technology is that it is always evolving. That means new smartphones are coming out, and along with new websites and social networking sites. That also means the internet keeps growing and expanding. The internet can be an amazing source of information that you need. Yet at the same time, the internet can be a frightening place where you can come across disturbing content, in addition to coming in contact with dangerous people.
The Dangers of the Internet that You Must Know
Teens and their parents must be properly educated on how to stay safe online since the internet can potentially be quite dangerous. There have been many horror stories of teens chatting with strangers online and ending up in frightening and in even deadly situations. If you are a parent to a teen, or nowadays kindergartners are sporting cell phone so if you are a parent to a child it’s always a perfect opportunity for you to learn about how to keep your child protected from the dangers that can happen online. Listed below are seven tips to keep your loved one safe on the internet.
#1. Never share personal information online.
That means do not share cell phone or landline numbers, addresses, and even location. That also includes when creating a screen name, to never use something personal like a birthdate. For instance, it is not advisable to use a screen name like ryan72500. That is traceable and someone creative will find out that this user is named Ryan and was born on July 25, 2000. If he were to use a screen name with a nickname in addition to a random number or a silly word, that would be fine. An example of that would be ry_man9876. If your teen has a Facebook account, then it is not advisable to even use their real names, instead use a nickname, and keep their locations kept private. Their friends that they know in person will know who they are. As long as they do not share anything personal online then there is less of a chance that he or she could be found.
#2. Never share photos or use identifiable photos in profile pictures.
Its never advised to never use personal photos as their profile on social networks. Dangerous pedophiles can easily track them down. And people can steal their photos and use it for their own purposes which could be very upsetting once that kind of discovery has been made. Another issue that has happened is that teens have had private conversations with strangers or people who they knew- who have asked them to send nude photos! People who send nude photos or who have sexual conversations can potentially have their lives ruined once that gets out in the open. Parents need to also tell their children if someone sends them a nude photo out of nowhere they must immediately tell you so that you can call the police and the police will track the sender down because that is an illegal activity and if it is a friend then you can help protect them from potential problems later as this could ruin a reputation.
#3. Never meet anyone in person who they may have chatted with online.
Firstly, teach your child that they should not be chatting with anyone random online and they must know it is crucial that they never make arrangements to meet people who interact with online in person. All conversations that the teen has on forums must be public. They must never answer private messages from strangers. Some strangers are trustworthy but many are not and can be dangerous. Never take a chance!
#4. Never give out passwords and as a parent, you should always know all of your children’s passwords.
Tell your teens they must never give their passwords out to anyone- and that also means that they must never give passwords to their friends. Their “friends” can easily hack into their profiles and start causing problems by posting inappropriate things that may get them expelled from school!
#5. Be aware that some websites and apps are not safe to access.
If you think that pornography is the worst thing that kids can find online- you are wrong. Pornography is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the dark side of the internet. There is a part of the internet which is referred as to the Dark Web and this is a dangerous area of the internet for anyone to enter. There are not only disturbing images found but anyone who enters the Dark Web can be traced easily, and illegal activities happen there. Kids are curious and may feel compelled to check these dark parts of the web out. They need to educated about the fact that this is a dangerous area of the internet. Additionally, unknown apps must never be downloaded because it can bring viruses and spyware to devices which could leave their personal information vulnerable.
15 apps parents should look out for. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAEjXTprHqA
#6. Stress the importance of privacy settings.
If your kids keep their profiles private, and never use their full names, share their locations and pictures- and they only converse with family and friends- without sending pictures at all, then they will be fine. In fact, teens using social media for the purpose of only keeping touch with their friends and family in a safe manner is a good thing because this keeps them connected with others who are important in their lives.
#7. Protect through apps.
This next advice can be controversial because some think it’s too controlling and not showing your human that you trust them. As for me and my family, we felt it was a protection. Just like a fence to keep a charging bull from charging you. It is not that I don’t trust them it’s that I don’t trust others. Also as their human bodies and minds are learning about this great big world there are some things that could easily suck them into a world of spiral downfall. That is why we are all about parental control apps.
There are many protective apps for parents to use in order to monitor their kids’ online activities. These apps are installed on their kids’ devices and parents can see exactly what their kids are doing online. The good news is that teens cannot easily uninstall these apps either. All parents have to do is do a Google search for best parental control apps and they can decide which app is the best fit for their needs.
If your child/teen is using the internet and social networking in a responsible and safe manner, the internet can be wonderful as it gives them an opportunity to learn new things, help them with school projects and to keep them connected with their friends and families. The internet itself is neutral, and it is a tool- the way it is used is what matters the most!
#8. Have a tech curfew.
We also have our children turn their phones into the charging station at a designated gadget curfew. I feel like this does two things. First, it develops good habits. It is so easy to get sucked into the endless rabbit hole of online. Second, it keeps them honest. If they are hiding their gadgets and worried about checking them in they are probably doing something to be ashamed of.
Last, we have had all our kids sign a contract. You can go download a free copy in the Hey There Bliss Shop.
Enter the coupon code “FREEBIE” for your free cell phone contract.
What do you do to keep your children and teens safe with all these wonderful gadgets and online access?
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