Managing & Protecting Your Child on the Internet
Looking Out for Your Kids
The Internet offers so many perks like social media, shopping, and a variety of online games to play but it can also be a scary place too, especially for kids. In this article, we will be discussing different ways you can monitor your child’s Internet usage to ensure they’re safe and that they’re not accessing violent, sexual, or inappropriate content that can be detrimental to them. Some examples of this might include gore, foul language, drug and alcohol use, pornography, access to pirated materials, personal information being compromised, etc.
Computer security is also a lingering concern as children can become easy targets for drive-by downloads and malware infections. As children spend more time online for work, play, and school assignments, parents become increasingly anxious about potential dangers of the web.
Some examples of this include:
Predators: They may lurk in your child’s social media messages, forums, or gaming chat rooms.
Cyberbullies: Children can be targeted by online bullies.
Phishing Scammers: Predators trick your child into sharing private information about themselves or the family.
What Can You Do About This?
Trying to figure out how to provide Internet safety for your children can be super stressful because many parents wrongfully assume they need to be extensively technical to effectively monitor their kids. Fortunately, there is easy-to-use security software available that any parent could use to deter their children from downloading malware or accessing inappropriate material.
Some options include:
Parental Control Software: This usually comes bundled with Internet security solutions and allows parents to manage their child’s Internet usage.
Parental controls allow parents to determine how much time their child can spend online, as well as which sites and apps they’re permitted to use. Any blocked attempts will be stopped and recorded in a log for viewing.
If you want to get more serious about parental controls, you can limit correspondence with specific people, restrict messages that contain personal information, and even prevent messages containing certain words and phrases from being sent.
Antivirus Software Programs: Allows parents to tackle issues like spyware and viruses from websites that children may visit. The truth is that sites can appear legitimate but may carry malicious code. Alternatively, they might redirect your child to a phony site that looks identical to their target site, but actually be a keylogger or computer virus.
To protect your child’s personal information, we recommend setting up a regular schedule for automatic virus checks. In addition, you should run a deep system scan monthly to make sure no unwanted visitors are on your hard drive.
Educating Your Children
Aside from just setting the right parental controls and downloading helpful programs, it’s important to help your child understand why such precautions need to be taken. Not only will this help your child to avoid the dangers that the Internet can bring, it will also allow for open communication and reassurance to your child that you do respect and trust them. Some children might feel that their opportunities to learn, grow, and be independent are being stifled when parental controls and other precautions are set, however, a healthy conversation can help them to better understand the “why.”
Some good starting points to discuss include:
- Avoiding talking to strangers – People aren’t always who they appear to be on the Internet.
- Block and report online bullies – If anyone says anything to make them feel harassed or uncomfortable, encourage them to discuss it with you and to also block them or report them online if need be,
- Downloads and certain links can infect the computer – Teach them about how certain websites, advertisements, and links can cause the computer to get a virus, this will inhibit the computer from functioning properly and it also many result in compromised security. In addition, you can download an Internet security suite to strengthen the efforts to protect your computer and your private information.
- The Internet is forever – Nothing can ever truly be deleted from the Internet, even if privacy settings had initially been enabled. Children may not quite understand this level of permanence. Remind them to be mindful of what they share and to consider whether they’d be okay with everyone in real life seeing it. Artifacts of data get left behind and people can save and share things that get sent to them, forever.
Today’s world is highly centered around technology and Internet usage. This very fact makes it nearly impossible to keep kids away from everything digital. On the bright side, it is very possible for parents to educate their kids about potential risks.
Here are top tips for ensuring their safety:
- Talk to your children about the dangers of the Internet
- Keep the computer in the living room/family room
- Encourage your kids to talk about anything hurtful or uncomfortable they may experience while online
- Restrict accessible content via parental controls
- Lay out rules regarding what your kids can and cannot do on the computer (join social media sites, make purchases, talk to strangers, download programs without permission, etc.)
- Keep your computer up-to-date with anti-virus software and update
We hope this article has proven useful in helping to keep your family safe while surfing the Internet! At Suddenlink, we’re always excited to help you find the best Internet packages for you and your family. We even include McAfee Internet Security in our services because we value security and privacy just as much as you do. With that, we appreciate being able to share our tips and suggestions on keeping your family safe while using technological devices and the Internet.