The Internet is a vast collection of interconnected networks and devices. Today, it is the best tool for communication, entertainment, and business.
No one can deny that the Internet has changed the world for the better.
However, with a free Internet like ours, where people are allowed to connect to almost anyone and post what they like, there are bound to be dangerous situations.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 94% of children (3 to 18 years old) have access to the Internet.
Nearly 70% of those kids have encountered sexually explicit images or text while browsing, and another 20% have been solicited illegally by adults.
If you have kids, your first instinct might be to lock your child in a room with no access to technology.
Fortunately, the Internet doesn’t have to be such a dangerous place for kids.
With a little bit of knowledge and the right tools, you can protect your children from predators and criminals on the world wide web.
Right off the bat, the first thing you should do before allowing your child technology is to have a conversation.
Kids often get into bad situations due to a lack of knowledge about Internet safety. With a little guidance, your kids can avoid dangerous websites and protect themselves from strangers.
If you’re at a loss on how to start such a conversation, here are a couple of things you can bring up to your child before they access a computer or a smart device:
- Avoid posting pictures. When a stranger asks for a photo, even if it’s innocent, speak with an adult right away.
- Don’t discuss personal information over the Internet. Don’t post an address, phone number, or password.
- Never meet with anyone you’ve met online. Even if they seem nice and trustworthy, they’re probably lying. If anyone asks to meet, tell an adult.
- If you ever feel uncomfortable on the Internet, remember that you can always turn it off and talk to your parents.
Remind your child that you won’t judge them or punish them for any situation they find themselves in – a child might avoid reporting a dangerous stranger because they fear punishment.
2. Phone Tracker
Even after discussing safe Internet usage with your child, there is still always a possibility for danger.
Fortunately, there are a wide variety of tools meant to help monitor and control your child’s Internet and app usage.
If your child has a smartphone with online capabilities, they carry around a little piece of the Internet with them at all times.
This means that they may access sketchy sites while you’re not around.
A phone tracker is the perfect solution to this issue. A Phone Tracker is an application that you install on your child’s phone.
The app will monitor their texting habits, online browsing, and location, so you can check on them when they’re away from you.
If you see any suspicious websites or unknown numbers contacting your kid, you can start a conversation with them about the incident.
Remember that your child is exploring a place full of older, mature people and that responding to danger with punishment will make them avoid confiding in you.
Often, kids access sites or predators on accident or out of pure curiosity, and they simply need you to guide them to safety.
Finally, you can place restrictions on your child’s internet browser to ban common explicit or dangerous sites. Here are a couple of common tools that you can use to ban pornographic or unsafe sites for each different browser.
- Google Chrome
- Enter the chrome web store and search “parental control.” Simply add the most appropriate add-on to Chrome and configure your preferred settings.
- Similarly to Chrome, you can access the add-on store and search “parental control” to find a content blocker that works for you.
- Internet Explorer
- Internet Explorer has a built-in feature for controlling Internet usage. Go to “tools” select “internet options” followed by “content.” On the “enable” tab, choose the level of content that is appropriate for your child.
With these tips, you can provide the safest experience possible for your kid as they learn and play on the Internet.