29 November 2017

3 Things Every Parent Needs to Do to Protect Their Children in Cyber Space

Online activity is second nature to today’s kids, but most of us with children didn’t grow up with the Internet, so it may be difficult to know how to advise them and monitor their safety online. There is a lot that’s great about the Internet, but there’s also a lot that’s dark, evil, and dangerous. As parents, we need to help our kids make the right decisions and stay safe online.
In my forthcoming book, Online Danger: ProtectingYourself and Your Loved Ones from the Evil Side of the Internet, I devote an entire chapter to the ways that parents can proactively safeguard their kids’ online activities without being intrusive, or heaven forbid, embarrassing them. Here are some of my top suggestions.

Know What Apps They Use
Just because an app (for phone or PC) came from the Google or Apple store doesn’t make it safe. Many of today’s apps ask for access to the device’s camera, microphone, and location services. This means that your child’s phone might be spying on him or her because it has permission to do so. I suggest periodically reviewing the apps on your kids’ phones, and determining whether they still use the app and how the permissions are set. 

Follow Your Kids on Social Media
Children should have the expectation that you’ll follow them on social media platforms. Make sure you understand privacy settings, particularly who can see or share their posts and photos. You’ll want to check who has connected with your kids, and don’t be shy about asking about faces you may not recognize. As an added tip, it’s probably better not to interact with your kids or their friends on social media – the embarrassment factor is HUGE. 

Talk Openly About Online Risks
Talking with your kids about online safety is an ongoing and age-appropriate process that starts the minute they start swiping on your phone or tablet, and continues into young adulthood. One thing I believe strongly is that we should let our children know we will not tolerate inappropriate cyber behavior directed at other people. We talk a lot about how to prevent our children from becoming cyber victims. But we should also teach our children not to bully or victimize others online.
In addition to the chapter devoted to protecting our kids online, my book provides more great advice for parents, teachers, seniors and others who want to stay safe on the Internet. 

Disclosure:  This is a contributed post.

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