What to do when your child watches inappropriate things? And why did that happen?
With the unbelievable technological innovations, the Internet has become the primary source of information, research, and entertainment for millions of children. On the other hand, parents who care about their kids don’t always understand the risks. Thus, online content can have many problems that need to be more appropriate for the kid’s age. Also, moms should keep their loved ones safe from scams, cyberbullying, and even identity theft, which can destroy everything in families.
For your best children’s safety when accessing the Internet and browsing websites, use this guide and apply my tips, tricks, and best recommendations. Not all of us know how safe a website is or what we should do to keep our kids safe when on the Web, so keep reading.
20 ways to keep your child safe when going online
1. Teach them online safety
This is not a one-time lesson that will teach children all the things they need to know to be safe and secure when going online. Instead, think about regular tips and information that your loved ones learn. You can use this guide, and each week, focus on one point, explain it, and do some research if you need additional details.
Every single piece of information your kid knows can save his life one day. That’s why it’s your responsibility to teach your daughter and son how to use the Internet with all the issues on websites like Facebook, YouTube, and more.
2. Using a VPN is highly recommended
Even if a teen is good at determining how to use the Web, problems, and dangers can come from the IP address he uses or the location. I recommend installing a good VPN tool like NordVPN on the child’s device. The software or the app he adds on Android, iOS, or iPhone encrypts the data he sends and receives to the web browser like Google chrome, safari, etc.
Additionally, that keeps the real IP secret and unknown by using a fake one. That way, if someone wants to intercept the data, it will be difficult and even impossible, as there are many levels of encryption.
A child who browses websites using a VPN is safer than others who don’t use it, but it will be better to keep that as a habit and never access sites without a Virtual Private Network.
3. See who your kid’s friends are
Please pay attention to this step. It’s crucial to know the friends of your girl or boy. There are advanced tools; you can search for your kid’s name, email, or mobile number and get a complete report with information that algorithms found on public databases.
You can see the kid’s social media accounts and relatives you don’t know about. You can expect their actions in real life as in the virtual world over the Web. To go further, get a list of your child’s friends on social media like Facebook, which can help a lot. And one day, you may protect your child from bad influences.
4. Say no to social media with arguments
I’m not saying that Facebook is 100% black and bad. Whether your child is 5 years old, a teen, or even a teenager, Facebook and all the related social platforms affect his life negatively in many ways you don’t even think about. But even with 2% of the content being about racism, extremism, or bad, it can make things worse in his daily life and future.
Think about Facebook as a website like millions of others that people use, and who uses Facebook? Not smart people, of course, or at least a small percentage of them. Facebook doesn’t mean it’s a good website. Even if Billions of people are using it, there are many issues with privacy and cyberbullying with social media. And if there is a need to use it, limit the time, and monitor what they share and do. Social media is less safe than the old days, especially for children.
5. Install a parental control software
Don’t hesitate to install parental control software on your girl’s laptop or other devices or use the default functions Microsoft or Apple offers. On Mac, for example, click on the” System Preferences” or the gear icon. Then look for the Parental Controls’ and open it like the following example.
Next, follow the steps; MacBook Pro, iPad, or iMac will ask you to use an existing account or create a new one. Remember that you can create accounts for your child but keep them from having administrator access.
Then, configure the options and choose what you don’t want to allow as access and features for the user. Finally, create a good password that your kid can remember, but don’t use his phone number or email. Try a different thing that’s not easy to guess. Windows OS also has a tool that sets up parental controls.
If you prefer using a paid tool, try a parental control software. It works, and there are also time management options that reduce time waste. Also, there are options to block adult websites and pages with inappropriate content for your kids’ age.
6. What they do or say online can affect someone’s life
Reading a post on social media, sharing it, or even browsing blog posts or articles about any topic won’t stop there. The actions that the kid takes online could have consequences for many people.
Think about racism, illnesses, social issues, and even religions. When someone gets hurt online, that won’t be easy for them. Believe it or not, many kids decide to end their lives because of that. Unfortunately, not all parents talk about this and explain the negative consequences a child may cause without thinking about what’s good and what’s considered harmful online.
7. Encourage the use of privacy settings
Dealing with private data may take time if you mess with it. However, what if you have the option to solve the problem from the beginning? Well, websites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and others have built-in systems that allow users, including teems, to disable specific sharing of information like email addresses, phone numbers, locations, and more. Parents can set up all the privacy settings for these sites and make their kid’s profiles safe and more secure.
If you want better ways to secure children’s accounts online, use Two-factor authentication. It’s a way to log in with a password and email, but also, it’s required to type in a code that will be sent to the cell number or email. That way, you add an extra layer of security and block any unwanted access.
8. Tips for easily influenced child
The kid may not be weak in terms of personality but is very sensitive and emotional. Boys can influence him incorrectly, with habits you don’t like. When you have a kid that’s easily influenced, things can be different, and protecting him may need extra time and steps.
So, think about that, and try solving the problem by talking directly to them. Next, see what they say, and even take them for visits to families you trust to see the interactions with their children. Consider that as a study to understand your kids better and help them.
Kids spend lots of time in kindergarten and school, so they may show signs you don’t notice at home. Besides, teachers have the skills to diagnose and treat problems in the right way. Talk to the teacher and see what they can do.
You can get your son away from a bad friend by changing the school, home, or state. But what if the problem comes from the child who is easily influenced? Instead of complicating the problem, see why that happens and how you can make him stronger in personality and hard to be influenced by others. Try talking about how bad friends can make life worse for others and that they may hide things when suggesting, talking, etc…
The main idea here is to tell your child you may be stupid to listen to what every friend says because he may want to hurt you in many ways.
9. Check their activities from time to time
There is a difference between monitoring your son’s activities when he uses a laptop or smartphone and spying on him. So, build trust with your kid and show him that you may take a look sometimes to see if there is any danger or spying app that’s installed on their devices. They’ll listen to you and understand the risk of using the Internet without parental control.
Cyberbullying starts from simple things and evaluates to severe problems later because parents are unaware of their kid’s activities on social media sites, YouTube, and others. Now, even if you trust what your boy is doing, you must take a step further to protect him. See with whom he talks from time to time, and you may find good and bad friends.
10. Location tracking is not always good
I understand that parents may enable location tracking to see where their children are, but that’s only some of what comes with good results. There is a big difference between having the location turned ON on an adult’s device and a kid’s smartphone.
In fact, hackers can access your kid’s phone and see where they are on the Map in real-time. That’s dangerous, without a doubt, especially when people want to hurt kids.
Now, you need to take action. Talk to your kid about cellular and GPS location tracking. Show them that when the feature is turned ON, the risk of being in a dangerous situation may be higher.
Take their smartphones and show them how to disable location tracking and temporarily enable it. Also, make sure you see what applications they have already installed. Next, see if there is any tool for tracking where the phone is. Then, remove it as it will come with many problems you don’t expect.
11. Not every piece of information online is true
Statistics show that nearly 4% of Facebook active users are fake. Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and other sites have fake profiles also. Also, there are millions of spam posts, profiles by robots, and comments that the system cannot detect, at least in the first few days. That means that girls and boys are targets for propaganda and danger…
12. The advertising issue
Big companies spend millions of dollars on targeted advertising that affects what kids eat, drink, and wear. So it’s not an option anymore to let your child click on every ad (banner, photo, or video) he sees on any website. I suggest reading more about the psychology behind online advertising. You’ll be surprised to find interesting details about how Brands can force children to buy items they don’t even need.
Unlike TV advertising, the Internet comes with tracking tools or cookies that save all the websites that someone visits and what terms he used to search on Google. Next, the algorithms deliver targeted ads that stay for a long time when the child goes online that directly or indirectly change his decisions, actions, or purchases.
13. Disable smartphone data
There is no reason to let your kid’s smartphone data or WiFi turn ON all the time. That can open the doors for hacks and online threats because someone may use that as a way to access personal information, accounts, etc… They can also access the smartphone camera and microphone and record what they want. In addition, when there is no need for an Internet connection, it’s better to turn the data OFF for security reasons. Even better, that saves the battery and makes it last longer.
14. When they post something, it will be impossible to remove it
The lie of online privacy can be dangerous for children, and when someone writes something on a website or a platform, the content will be there forever. They may tell you anything they want. But even if you delete the content, chances are, it was already captured, saved, and archived for later use.
Many data centers are built yearly, and cloud companies invest a lot of money in data. So the kid may not be aware of that, and you can show him that they should think twice before posting online, or at least, it’s better to keep their ideas and thoughts for themselves until they grow up and understand things better.
15. The law is applicable online as real life
Many boys use the Internet and play games, then comment and share posts without even noticing that authorities may be monitoring them. Thus, ignoring the fact that freedom comes with responsibilities will be bad for families, and I encourage parents to talk about that. If a child understands that virtual life or sites can be tracked and judged, he’ll think twice before doing anything online.
For example, you can talk about hackers who are in prison because they used the Internet incorrectly, and no matter if they’re smart or not, there is always a law that we should respect as we do offline. It’s like saying the Internet has eyes that watch what we do.
16. Addiction to games
In 2022, the Gaming industry worthed $197 Billion. That comes with real power to influence kids as well as adults on what they play, and of course, that makes them use all the credits to pay for games and add-ons. Don’t just look for stats, but keep in mind that game developers work with experts in psychology to make kids addicted and pay every month because there are companies with thousands of employees.
Playing a game that’s all about war, killing, and blood won’t be suitable for your young boy. If you think that’s just for pleasure, then think again. It’s not. That can easily make him violent and aggressive. On the other hand, you have lots of games that may not be safe for the kid. However, we see lots of them play and stay for a long time.
17. Private data should be taken seriously
What’s considered private information for your child? Do you know what someone can do with a kid’s name, phone number, email, or other details?
Fathers and mothers may need to learn how much the data costs online. So, they should understand that people may use their kid’s email or numbers they find online and hurt them with hacks, cybersecurity problems, cyberbullying, and more threats. Besides, the kid may need to learn what private information means and why he should keep it secret when going online or offline.
For that, dedicate an hour and tell your child that the following details are considered private, and he should keep them safe and never share them with anyone they don’t trust.
- His full name
- Email address
- Where is their school located
- What they do every day
- Places they visit regularly
- Cell numbers
- Job and other details about their parents etc…
I know that’s a lot, but that’s the truth. Someone who asks your kid for his father’s job online may hide something terrible no one expects. The same thing can happen to others with details about the family. In all cases, teach them that they should not communicate or share their private data with anyone. If they do, they can risk their security and even life. When they understand that, they’ll take data privacy seriously and stop giving their passwords and details to strangers.
18. Keep an eye on app installs
Google Play and the Apple store contain millions of apps that satisfy everyone’s need for features, options, and background. This means that good and bad users share the same platform, which is not helpful for kids. For that, parents can block access to content, app purchases, and limit the time their kids spend playing games or doing things on their smartphones. You can read more in this apple guide and Google Play article.
19. Talk together and see what they have in mind
Kids may get influenced easily online because they don’t have real friends. And if you add problems in the family, things won’t go well in the long term. That’s why building trust with children and strengthening the family’s relationships will result in a healthy environment they live in and appreciate.
When the mom, for example, talks with her girl and explains things, and understands what she has as thoughts. There will be fewer issues as she has the freedom to ask and get advice from her mom. On the other hand, a child with a broken relationship with his parents may not be able to deal with easy issues in his daily life, and of course, when using the Internet or Apps.
20. Educate them to search for truths
Adults who want to buy something search for online reviews, compare things and find the truth. Therefore, they can compare things using Google or other search engines. That’s what you should educate your kids about. Teach them that the Internet is accessible to anyone. Thus, there is no control over what people say or buy, even with limitations.
Also, make a short demonstration, and show how you can find the truth about something by reading trusted sources online and not getting influenced easily.
When your son sees that in action, he’ll try to copy your strategy and search for the truth about things you may not think about, all that is good and helpful for both sides.
With the above list of tips and tricks, parents can protect their kids using smartphones and go online using any device. But investing in security education is always a good way. So, bookmark this page, and show your kid one tip every day so he gets what’s needed to use the Internet correctly and never be the next victim of cyberbullying, hacks, or any other type of danger.