Parenting is a lot different from how it used to be and the dangers children face have changed dramatically. Children can now spend all their time online, either at home or school by using their phone, computer, tablet, or games console. Although the internet certainly has its benefits (where would we be without it?) there are plenty of hazards too. Whether it’s cyberbullying, predators, phishing scams, or oversharing, protecting kids online might sound like an impossible task for parents. But you don’t need to do it alone, and here we picked six tips for you to help your children stay safe online.
Use Parental Control Software
Parental control software might be parents’ best weapon against online dangers. Installing it on your child’s computer, phone, tablet (like their iPad), or even video game console will enable parents to monitor children’s internet activity. Great parental control software automatically notifies parents when a child views inappropriate content. You’ll even get in-depth activity reports so you can get an overview of how your child uses the internet. Of course, there are many different kinds of parental control software out there, from ones that use artificial intelligence, like Bark, to those that need to be installed just once to protect an entire house, such as OpenDNS Family Shield.
Set App Restrictions
Sometimes the problem for children is down to just a few apps. Whether it’s Snapchat, TikTok, or any other app that you’re worried about, there are ways to either restrict children’s time on them or block them completely. Parental control software can help here too, with a solution like Kaspersky Safe Kids that gives you the ability to block apps on a child’s device remotely and will even update you if new apps are installed. Some apps already have parents in mind, though. For example, YouTube has a child-friendly version of its software to prevent kids from watching adult content. You can also use software like Norton Family Premier to see exactly what videos your kids are watching.
There are other things you can do besides that. If you have access to your child’s device, then you can turn on its parental control settings. Whether it’s an Android or an iOS, phone settings can be tweaked to add age restrictions to apps and even prevent in-app purchases.
Limit Screen Time
Screen addiction is very real, and research indicates that 71% of parents are concerned that their children spend too much time in front of a screen. But since the internet is so ever-present in our daily lives, it’s no longer as simple as taking devices away from your child. To restrict screen time it’s best to create a schedule that both you and your child agree on, even if it may mean some compromises. Using parental control software, you can also set up schedules and devices will lock automatically when the time is up. Apps like FamilyTime even have an innovative system that rewards kids for reducing their screen time by letting them save it to be used at a later date.
Purchase Identity Theft Protection
We all know how useful identity theft protection is, but we often forget that children need protection too. One reason for that is that children don’t fully understand what should and shouldn’t be shared online, meaning they can give away important information that identity thieves thrive on. Even parents need to be careful about how much they share about their child as oversharing pictures can put kids at risk. Thieves can use this information to steal a person’s identity, and this can go on for years without detection.
Strengthen Online Security
It’s essential to have good online security. And although you may already know the best way to avoid phishing threats and how to stay free from malware, your child might not. You can never be too secure online, and you may be surprised by how creative hackers can be, even using weak Wi-Fi connections to hack into a doll. Using a secure VPN is one great way to stay safe, as it ensures your internet connection is encrypted to help keep hackers at bay.
Educate Your Kids
Perhaps the most important tip of all is to educate your child on the dangers they face online. Teach them how to use social networking sites safely and what information they should never share. You also need to earn their trust, so if they do have issues online they come to you for help. It’s not healthy to have kids who want to hide things about their online activity, and it can be a red flag. If you’re understanding even when they have done something wrong, you’ll encourage them to open up to you – after all, it’s not easy learning how to use the internet safely. Being open with your child also means you’ll be able to see the warning signs early on and keep them protected.
Best Parental Control Software of 2021
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