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Tech-Tips

How to keep your children safe online?

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Summer is here and your kids are home for long stretches of time. Here are our tips on keeping your home and children safe online.

Our number 1 tip is talk to your children! Communication is essential in maintaining a safe environment.
  1. Have a conversation with your kids: warn them about malware, dangerous websites, and sex offenders. Let your kids know you’re looking out for them, speak honestly with them, and listen. After all, if it’s just you talking, it’s not a conversation. It’s a lecture. And no one likes a lecture.
  2. Keep your computer in a common area of the house: it’s more difficult for sex offenders and online bullies to harass your child when you can see what your child is up to. So make sure your kids aren’t going to bed with their laptops and phones. Keep internet time in the common areas.
  3. Know which other computers your children are using: your children most likely have access to computers at school or their friends’ houses. Ask them where they go online, and talk to their friends’ parents about how they supervise their own kids’ internet use.
  4. Remind your children, “Don’t talk to strangers — or meet them”: Remind your children that people often lie about their age, and online predators often pretend to be children. Emphasize that your children should never reveal personal information like their name, address, phone number, school name, or even their friends’ names. Knowing any of this could help an online predator find your kid in real life. And under no circumstances should your child ever meet up with someone they met online without your permission. If you do agree to a meeting, go with your child and meet in a public place.
  5. Make internet time family time: You watch movies together. Why not browse the web together? Making it a family event can be fun. You’ll learn more about your kids’ interests, and can guide them to websites that are more appropriate to their age.
  6. Know your children’s passwords: If you’ve got a younger kid, create an account for them in your own name to avoid exposing your kid’s name — and so you’ll have the password. But please respect the age limitations on accounts. If a site says you should be 18 to sign up, then maybe your child should wait. Whatever your choice, though, make sure you get their passwords and warn them that you’ll be checking their accounts from time to time to make sure everything’s kosher. (Spying on your kids’ accounts without their knowledge could weaken their trust in you.)
  7. Watch for changes in your children’s behavior: Being secretive about what they do online, withdrawing from the family, and other personality changes could be signs that an online sex offender is preying on your kid. So keep an eye out for any behavioral changes.
  8. Pay attention to any gifts anyone gives your children: Sexual predators may send physical letters, photos, or gifts to children to seduce them. Stay alert, and ask your kids about any new toys they bring home.
  9. Check your children’s browsing history: Open your child’s web browser and look for “History” to see a list of websites they’ve been to. Also check the recycle bin to see if any files have been deleted. You may be surprised.
  10. Set rules — and stick to them: As a parent, it’s your job to limit your kids’ screen time, set boundaries for inappropriate content, and make sure your children stick to them. Talk to your internet service provider about filters you can use to block pornographic or violent websites, or invest in a Wi-Fi router with parental controls.
Searching and using the internet together is a great way to teach your children about navigating the multilayered online world.

Questions, comments? Let us know!

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