One of the biggest safety concerns of many parents is how to protect their children from the potential dangers lurking online.
Learning how to safely navigate the Internet is a key aspect of a child’s development in this modern world, but that does not mean that parents should simply let them jump in. Before letting your tween loose online, it is important to establish some ground rules that dictate how and what they can access online.
Guidelines for Parents
When establishing rules for your tweens to follow online, parents should remember that teens are going to be naturally curious and want to explore, perhaps beyond the boundaries that you have established. One of the best ways to ensure that they stick to the approved content and activities is to keep the computer in a shared area of the home. If the computer is tucked away in a corner that nobody ever passes by, there will be a much higher level of temptation for your tween to slip off the beaten path.
A computer located in the living room with the monitor facing away from the wall so anybody can see what is on the screen is a much more effective way of controlling their internet usage. Using parental controls is also a good idea, but more technologically savvy tweens are likely to find ways around these controls.
In order to keep an eye on their social media contacts online, many experts recommend creating your tween’s social media accounts for them and holding on to the passwords. This way they will only be able to use the accounts with your guidance, protecting them from potential predators.
- Don’t share personal information
This includes things like their cell phone number, home number, home address, or location. Be sure to stress that they should not share this information through any medium: email, social networks, text message, or other mediums.
- Never meet up with strangers
It is hard to tell who somebody really is online; encourage your tween to tell you immediately if somebody online is insisting on meeting up in person.
- Do not share photographs without parental approval
Photographs may give away more information than they are meant to. Before allowing your tweens to post images of themselves online, be sure it does not give away too much information about their location.
- Never share your passwords
The only person who should know the passwords to a tween’s social networks and email accounts is their parent or guardian.
Stressing these points to your tween before allowing them to use the Internet will keep them safe while surfing!