Imagine that you have a 14-year-old daughter. Perhaps you do, in fact. Do you know what she is doing online? Is there a possibility that she is corresponding with someone she shouldn’t be? Do you think you are watching the internet habits of your child(ren) closely enough?
A recent survey has found that almost 70 percent of teens report that they know how to hide what they do online, and about 80 percent of parents don’t know how to find out what their kids are doing.
This is absolutely frightening.
Some believe that monitoring their children’s online activities is spying, but this is actually called “parenting” and should be a key piece of your internet safety strategy for keeping your kids safe. Instead of looking at the internet as a right, parents should be looking at it as a privilege. There are too many bad guys out there preying on children and teens, and as a parent, you must take an active role in stopping this. Here are a few internet safety tips to help you protect your kids.
- Spend time with your kids online; learn about their habits and who they are interacting with.
- Put your computer in a high-traffic area of the home and set a time limit. If a child has their own laptop, only allow them to use it in certain areas of the home.
- Teach children to recognize online behavior that is inappropriate.
- Invest in software that allows you to control the sites your child visits.
- Remind children to create only appropriate usernames, photographs, and to never reveal personal information to those online.
- Make sure your child understands that you will be checking their devices for offending behavior without warning – and make sure you actually check them.
Software to Help You Monitor Your Children
As mentioned, it is a good idea to use software to monitor what your children are doing online. Here are some of the best:
- Limitly – This software allows you to limit screen time and app use on their mobile device. It is free, but only available for Android.
- Pocket Guardian – With this software, you will get an alert when bullying, sexting, or inappropriate images are detected on your child’s mobile device.
- VISR – To use VISR, you must have access to your child’s usernames and passwords. The software then analyzes emails and social media accounts for suspect behavior such as profanity, bullying, nudity, or even late night use.
- Bark – Like VISR, you must have access to usernames and passwords. It analyzes activity and alerts you when there is a problem.
Things are much different now than when many of us were young, and even very different from when the internet became a household utility. I’m the security expert that the 6 o’clock news keeps calling to speak to about the recurring story that involves an online predator taking advantage of young girls. Protect your kids today, tomorrow and for as long as they are under your immediate care.