How to Keep Children Safe Online

It is unavoidable that children will go online.  In fact, it is an important part of their development.  However, there are a lot of dangerous things and people out there in the virtual world and there are a number of things you need to do to make sure your child is not exposed to these dangers as much.  You need to set some rules between yourselves, but you should also have systems in place to make sure these rules are being followed.  Although it would be wonderful if you could fully trust your child, unfortunately it is almost impossible to do so.  This doesn’t mean that children are inherent liars, they simply aren’t aware of certain things yet and it is easy for them to fall prey to bad things.


Parental Control

Everybody with children should have a parental control system in place.  These can be found as protection on laptops and computers, but also on games consoles, your satellite television system and mobile phones.   Through parental controls, you can set certain websites as being a no go area by placing their URL on a filter list.  You can also set a limit on the amount of time a specific user can be online (don’t give your password away to your children if you have different limits for yourself).  You can also use parental controls to stop your children from finding results for certain keywords or search terms.

Setting out the Rules
The most important thing, however, is to set up rules with your child.  Your child is likely to have an email account and a number of social networking sites.  You should have the login and password details of all these accounts and monitor them regularly.  You should also have certain agreements with your child, particularly in relation to social networking sites.  For instance, you should make sure that your child only adds people that they actually know and that they set their profile to completely private.  This way, nobody will be able to read their information and use this for potential grooming or other purposes.

Why All of this Is Important
You may wonder why any of this is important.  Aren’t we being paranoid for nothing?  Unfortunately, no we are not.  The reality is that there are some seriously bad people out there.  The nicest of them simply want to hack into your computer and steal your identity and bank account details.  The worst of them, however, want to groom your children and get them involved in certain bad things.  This sounds over the top, but unfortunately it is very real.  It is very hard for a child to recognise when they are being groomed, particularly if the groomer is posing as a young person themselves.

The other problem is the issue of cyber bullying.This is why you need to go beyond setting rules and actually check their accounts.Cyber bullying will generally be done by people who they actually know, people they go to school with, people they go to sports activities with.  Even if your relationship with your child is a very close one, it is still likely that they will keep this information hidden from you.  After all, bullying creates very silent victims, who slowly but surely start to withdraw, fearing that what is being said about them is actually true.  By having proper security measures in place, you can help break the cycle and keep your child safe.

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