Steps to help protect your child online
Here are a few tips to help you get started:
1. Don't allow your child to use the internet alone in their bedroom unsupervised!
This is probably the most important thing you can do. Even without monitoring the website or app, by being in a shared place you can monitor their reactions and know when something has been said or viewed that has left them worried or concerned. They may not tell you about it that moment, but later that evening you can start a conversation and understand more.
2. Spend time with your children online.
Play minecraft with them! Use social media online as a family. As you do, you can then ask them about how you chat to others, who the people are, do they know them, shall we call them strangers and what therefore should we not share etc. By spending time online you are educating yourself whilst building trust that will enable them to tell you when they are worried.
3. Make reasonable rules and set time and use limits. Enforce them.
You should set guidelines about what your children can and cannot do on the Internet. Try to understand their needs, interest and curiosity. But, you must set limits on when they may use the Internet and for how long. Use an agreement or contract for everyone to sign listing the rules about keeping safe online.
4. Put accounts in your name and know your child’s passwords.
The Internet account and primary screen name should be in your name, not your children’s names. It’s also a good idea to know your children’s passwords and let them know you will check their online activity.
5. Never allow your children to arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone they met online without your permission.
Many predators want to meet a child for sexual contact. Your child should never meet a stranger alone in a face-to-face meeting. If you ever do agree to a meeting, make sure it is in a public place and accompany your child.
6. Do not give out any personal information of any kind on the Internet - THAT MEANS YOU TOO!
Children should never give out their name, home address, telephone number or school name. They should be aware that even naming a friend, local sports team, shopping centre or community event could give away their identities. Are you also a good role model for them or do you break all the rules (adults are often the worst!)
7. Only share pitcures if the other person is happy.
As a parent, would you want your child to post pictures of you from birth to now online without your permission? If not, don't do it to them - instead ask them. By asking you are modelling how to be responsible online and they will then copy this and ask others.
8. Utilise your Internet Service Provider’s parental controls and commercial blocking and filtering software tools.
Most ISP’s have parental controls – use them. Other filtering and monitoring software programs can be purchased separately. Monitors show a history of use so you can see where your child has been on the Internet. Filters block access to objectionable material. Remember, while parents should utilise monitors and filters, do not totally rely upon them. There is no substitute for parental guidance and supervision.
9. Be sensitive to changes in your children’s behaviours that may indicate they are being victimised.
Be alert to personality changes. If victimized online, children may become withdrawn from their families or secretive about their activities. Computer sex offenders work very hard at driving a wedge between children and their parents.