“Don’t talk to strangers on the internet, they’ll try to kidnap you!”
As kids who grew up at the same time that the internet was coming into its own, we heard things like this constantly from our parents. Don’t put your real name on the internet, never give out personal information, and don’t respond to requests from people you don’t know in real life.
A lot of us ignored that advice and spent a lot of time in chat rooms telling complete strangers our A/S/L (age/sex/location), or at least pretending to. There were no parental controls, no ‘safe search’ settings, and pop-ups were a constant annoyance. We chatted with strangers on AIM and made internet friends on myspace, thinking we were old enough to stay out of trouble.
Kids these days are often given an iPad before they take their first steps. They grow up taking technology for granted as a part of everyday life. So how do you teach them about internet safety and making good choices online? Parents turn to parental controls to keep their kids away from potential internet threats.
Types of Parental Controls
So where do you start? There’s a couple of different types of parental controls to look at when setting restrictions for your kids –
These settings can be made directly on phones or tablets, through your mobile provider, or in our case, your wireless provider! You can apply them to TV’s, laptops, or any device that connects to the internet. You can go directly through sites like Google Chrome or Youtube, or use a parental control software app like Bark or Family Time.
Talk to Your Kids About Internet Safety
In addition to restricting content, it’s important to teach children how to navigate the internet to help stop problems before they happen.
As an example, try googling yourself and looking at the results together. Maybe your high school honor roll comes up, or maybe your resume, but whatever it is, be sure to point out how it got there, and how easy it was to find.
Having a base password like A@ronS! (Aaron’s) with a specific detail to determine which account it belongs to, like A@ronS!T@b (Aaron’s Tablet) help’s keep passwords strong but easy to remember. And don’t forget to log out of devices and accounts when you’re done! This will keep friends and siblings from posting embarrassing statuses or releasing information.
The internet is a fun, educational place for kids to explore and learn, but it can quickly turn dangerous. Parental controls help limit the content your kids can access and keep them from sharing personal information online.
Once you’ve decided what kind of limits you want to set, don’t forget to talk to your kids about why you put the controls in place! Teaching them safe internet practices build a strong foundation of internet-savvy to build onto as they get older and restrictions change.
Whatever route you choose to take with parental controls, keeping your kids safe online is always the top priority!