Tips for Parents on Back-to-School Internet Use
It always seems like “that time of year” comes too soon when summer winds down and everyone gets ready for back-to-school. It affects both kids and parents. Every parent wants to set up their child for success, so it is essential that your child is prepared to take on the new year and new responsibilities. As kids head back into the classroom and start using computers and the Internet more and more, it is helpful for parents to be aware of what they can do to help keep their children safe online.
A study performed by F-Secure showed that about 50% of parents are very concerned about their child’s ‘back-to-school online safety’ while 44% are only somewhat concerned. The most significant concern comes from the risk of encountering a predator and whether or not their children are monitored appropriately while in school.
With school just around the corner, or already started in some states, here some useful tips that you can follow for your child’s safety and your peace of mind:
- Talk to your child about Internet safety as soon as they begin using the Internet. It is never too early to educate your child on this topic.
- Invest in age-appropriate filtering, blocking and monitoring software(s). Put them on all Internet-enabled devices that your child uses, such as smartphones, laptops, video games, etc.
- Stay involved in and aware of your child’s Internet activity. Setting limits on “screen time” can help with monitoring, too. If you get to know that website that your little one is frequently visiting, you will have a better understanding, also.
- Review the Family Online Safety Institute contract along with your family members. By having everyone listen in and sign the agreement, you teaching accountability as well as safety.
- Teach your child about keeping private information private. Show them the importance of never giving out personal information online.
- Explain to your child why they should never meet someone that they met online face-to-face without first talking to you about it and making sure you are aware of the situation.
- Make sure that your child knows to keep their passwords safe. Tell them to never share their passwords with anyone, even with their friends.
- Explain the consequences of posting inappropriate pictures and content online. Help them understand how this can hurt their reputation and their safety.
- Monitor all mobile phone usage. Review out-going and incoming text messages, as well as images that are downloaded and uploaded.
- Educate yourself on the latest Internet threats that children may be facing. By understanding and being aware of these issues, you are preparing yourself to talk to your children about these important topics and how to avoid them.
All of these tips will help you as a parent keep your child safe while online. By educating your children early on, you are helping empower them to become and continue to be great citizens in the digital world. Head into the new school year with peace of mind knowing that your child is armored with the information they need to make smart and safe choices online.