Technology is rapidly becoming one of the most dominant things in our daily lives. Our children will inherit the planet from us and the tools we utilize to shape the world.
Computers are not only limited to being in your household but are at your very fingertips with things like smartphones, tablets, and laptops, so having a firm grasp of internet safety is paramount to keeping your child safe.
Aside from technology becoming a significant part of society today, what kind of computer safety tips are out there? Let's find out.
There are multiple computer safety tips your child should learn. Still, some of the most critical information to acquire is never to give out your personal information, do not download just anything, and refrain from meeting anyone online. Remembering rules and regulations will keep you and your computer safe from any harm.
That being said, there are way more safety tips to provide for your children, but those are the basic major ones. Still, this article discusses more in-depth what you and your children should do. Not only that, but if you need help discussing these topics with your children, we will go over them below. Continue reading for more information.
What Are Some Computer Safety Tips for Children?
Being vigilant of who you are actively speaking with, monitoring what content your child has access to, and how open-ended the filters are regarding their Google searches and more will allow you to custom-tailor your child's internet experience. Also, personal security for their devices is integral to keeping them safe from any would-be prying eyes.
Rules Specifically for Kids:
Suppose your child is old enough to learn certain things on their own. In that case, we have written rules specifically geared towards kids. However, it is essential to note that although these are for children, you, as the parent, should be teaching them specific information.
1. Choose a Complex Password
Having a unique and complex password is necessary for both children and adults alike, regardless of whether it is keeping them from removing safe searches or keeping other people from accessing their personal information.
In most cases, a safe password should include uppercase, lowercase, numeric digits, and symbols to be as challenging to guess as possible. For example, something like "aLph4!" could make for a decent password. Still, the more creative and complex it is, the harder it will be for someone to guess.
2. Do Not Give Out Personal Information
Digital information that can be accessed by hackers or other people of ill repute online is just one side of the equation when it comes to safety for children online. Your child's ability to not give out intricate details of their life when asked has to be worked on and taught, much like all aspects of their life.
Teaching your children to trust adults like teachers but be hesitant of ones that pose as figures of authority online can be a highly complex endeavor. However, take your time to educate your child on the kind of questions an average person wouldn't ask. These questions may be as follows:
Your personal address
What school do they go to
What their birthday is
What age your child is
Other personal information that gives out location or schedule.
Another quick thing to consider as well is although simple games on the Internet might be fun, like a questionnaire, hackers and pedophiles will gladly search for these things. Most teenagers will fall for this trap because it is a "fun and easy game" to come by. However, reality might kick in, and the situation might become extremely dire fast.
3. Think Before Posting
As a rule of thumb, most people work with the functional understanding that once something is online, it is there forever. To some extent, it is, and this is doubly true regarding sensitive information or topics that aren't to be discussed. Even something as simple as a photo of your child at an event can give an extreme amount of information to someone with predatory intent, never mind descriptions listed with photos.
For example, if you just gave birth, one of the first things you will do is post them on social media. However, along with the description comes your one or two-day-old child's first, middle, and last name. Not to mention their weight, the time they were born, etc. Although this is not what a child will do, you can see through this example the weight of what is posted online.
Leaning back to giving out personal information, your child should be mindful of what they are saying and showing online and how their words and actions can be interpreted and skewed. You are your child's first line of defense against the world. Educating them with the tools they need to thrive is imperative to keeping their online experience healthy.
4. Stick to Safer Websites
Online interactions are most limited by whoever is utilizing the website itself rather than the content of the website being utilized. That said, you will need to carefully scout websites that are safe, engaging, and educational for your child to use.
5. Never Agree to Meet Anyone Online
People aren't as kind as they used to be, and even back then, there were still some bad apples. Nowadays, you can never truly gauge someone's intent. To that end, it is imperative to educate your child on the dangers that can occur to them should they meet with someone they've met online.
While it can sound like preaching terror to your child or even instilling a victim mentality, the truth of the matter boils down to the fact that people will have harmful intent for children and will hide behind the mask of another child or friend to enact their plans.
So, make sure to invest the time in teaching your child not to meet people in real life, as it will make them all the safer. As a parent, you should also be double-checking the interactions your child has with everyone online as well.
6. Explore Internet Safety Facts
To truly get a firm grasp of just how many pieces of the puzzle there are to be safe online, you should dedicate some time to looking at what risks can be posed by any online interaction with a stranger, as well as the kinds of content that might befall your child if they do stumble into sites they shouldn't see.
After gathering this information, organize it so that it is easier to understand for your child and make a small in-home class regarding it. You can take any questions or concerns your child has in real time. If you do take this route, be sure to keep an open mind to your child's questions and not dismiss them as being silly because it can end up being important later.
85% of people posting pictures of puppies are trying to scam you.
Russia has the highest cybercrime rate.
The Netherlands has the lowest cybercrime rate.
Since 2020 (after Covid) the FBI has reported a 300% cybercrime rate due to more people working from home.
7. Cover Your Webcam
Internet security is a multifaceted process that requires you to be mindful of what you are saying and doing online and what information is available to more savvy hackers who can not only get access to your internet connection but your computer and its connected devices as well.
A talented hacker can utilize your computer and access files without you knowing and activate and monitor you through your webcam without your knowledge. This is terrifying and can sound outlandish, but it is the truth. In that case, protect your children and yourself. You can simply cover your webcam with a small piece of paper and tape or unplug it entirely.
Aside from advice to give to your children, we have found parental advice to help you as the parent out for future success.
1. Set Up Parental Controls
Setting up parental controls on your computer will allow you to customize further what your child can and cannot do without your permission. These limitations can be set on the computer itself, your internet connection, your Internet browser, and even your ISP. Ensuring you are diligent in these areas will keep your child from unexpected visits to sites they aren't meant to see.
2. Set Specific Rules in Place
The old adage, "too much of anything is a bad thing," remains true of all things in our world, and the Internet is no exception.
Setting up specific boundaries that merit earning internet time, as well as learning how to delegate these amounts of time, will significantly foster the respect of your child as well as the understanding that utilizing the Internet is a privilege, not a necessity.
3. Keep Your Device Secure
To keep your child from accessing the Internet or your computer/phone without your permission, take the time to set up intricate passwords on your devices to keep them out. This is regardless of whether it is the number pad system or a specialized password, some barriers should be in place at all times.
4. Help Your Children Use Computers
As a guide in almost all walks of life, you will be in charge of helping your child learn how to utilize computers safely. This process, like any other, is best done when leading by example. Showing your child how someone uses a computer safely and respectably will teach them proper online etiquette and boundaries.
5. Monitor What Your Child Goes On
While this falls in step with almost everything that has been said already, it is of the utmost importance that you regularly check in on your child to make sure you have a good idea of what sites they are using, as well as the people they are in contact with the most.
A welcome break from constantly seeing over your child's safety and getting five minutes to yourself is nice, but not at the risk of your child seeing something that may introduce issues into your household or break core values. Most smartphones can be linked so that you can spectate a child's computer as a parent in real-time, so even when you aren't hovering over their shoulder, you can still keep a watchful eye.
How Should You Talk to Your Child About Online Safety?
Talking to your child may not come naturally to everyone, especially about serious and essential matters. Still, keeping this line of communication open will make the conversation come about more naturally. It will also keep your child open to receiving information with you and trusting your judgment as someone who cares about their well-being and safety.
Establishing a firm respect and connection between your children will make them much more likely to discuss these matters with you. It also focuses on the lesson itself when you are teaching them and provides the additional benefit of having them more likely to come to you when something does impact them negatively, and they need an ear to listen.
Stay Safe Out There
Online safety takes a long time to get a good grasp on, and even as an adult, some practices still might not be common knowledge, like the webcam having a cover on it, for example.
There are so many unique parts about digital security to learn that it will be an uphill journey to stay on top of things. Still, the time invested into the endeavor will make all the difference when your child can gain all the pros of online use without the risks associated with the cons.