Openly and regularly talking to your child about the potential dangers of going online is the best way to make sure that they stay safe when browsing the web. You might find it helpful to gather the family in order to have a discussion in order to set boundaries for browsing and decide what is and is not appropriate, or, you might need a more specific conversation regarding things such as the apps your child wants to use or websites that they want to visit. If you are not sure where to start when it comes to speaking with your child about internet safety, here are some tips which might help:
Use Parental Controls
Depending on the age of your child, they probably do not want to stumble across the things that you do not want them to see on the internet anyway. Teenagers might not be as happy about a parental control app for iPhone, but it is necessary in order to give you peace of mind when it comes to what your child is looking at or who they are speaking to online. Parental controls can be downloaded onto your computer or your child’s computer, and you can also get them for any other devices which they may use.
Your Child’s Phone
If, like many parents of an older child or teen, you have bought them a smartphone, you are probably worried about the lack of control that you might have over their internet usage. If you are worried about what your child might stumble across whilst on their phone, it is a good idea to speak to their mobile network and ask them to set up site blocking for under 18’s. Most networks have this as standard, but if the contract is in your name it could well be turned off. It is also important to speak to your child about staying safe when using their smartphone and making sure that they know to report anything bad or suspicious to you.
Talking To Your Child
Parental controls can give you peace of mind to some extent, but they cannot block out all of the bad things which potentially go on online, such as cyber bullying, or in the worst case scenario, online child grooming. The best way to make sure that your child is not a victim of either of these two online crimes is to encourage open and honest conversation. Many children who become victims of cyber bullying or worse are afraid to tell their parents about what is going on, believing that they may get in trouble for it. Ensuring that your child knows that they can speak to you about anything, which goes on online and they will not get in trouble for it, will encourage them to come to you straight away if anything suspicious or untoward occurs.
These days, it is impossible to get away from the internet. Whilst it has brought about a lot of good, many parents worry about making sure that their child stays safe online. Using parental control tools and encouraging your child to talk to you will help to give you peace of mind!