A Parent's Guide to Keeping Kids Safe Online

Child predators, things your kids just shouldn't see – parents, beware

Kids Safety Online

Getting online is part of most everyone's daily lives these days. Whether it's for research, for socialization, or just for fun, more kids are getting on the Web now than at any other time in history. Of course, good parents want to make sure that their children are staying safe online, especially when we see alarming headlines every night on the evening news.

How do you keep your kids safe online but, at the same time, give them enough freedom to experience the best of the Web?

How to Keep Kids Safe Online? Common Sense and Boundaries 

There are a few simple guidelines that parents can follow to make sure that their kids not only can take advantage of the vast resources on the World Wide Web but also absolutely stay safe at the same (and give parents some peace of mind!). In this article, we'll take a look at some common sense tips you can implement right now to make sure that your children can get online safely

Safety Tips for Parents and Kids Online

  • Be involved. What are your kids doing online? Who are they talking to? While it might seem awkward, you need to know who your kids are talking to online. Monitor who they are allowing to have access to their lives online, and don't be afraid to be "that parent".There's too many scary statistics out there. Don't let your kids be one of them.
  • Be prepared. Lay out clear boundaries of where your child is allowed to go on the Web. If you feel it's necessary, you can install internet filters, but it's important to understand that filters don't filter out everything (plus, kids are smart and can get around something if they really put their minds to it!). If you tell your kids that something is off limits, and you find out that they have visited it anyway, be prepared to follow through with agreed-upon consequences; but also make sure you're available for conversation. 
  • Be educated. This might be common knowledge for adults, but most kids don't know that they are not supposed to give out personal information out online. This includes emailing, using chat rooms, IM-ing (instant messaging), or anything else that asks for any kind of personal information. Make it absolutely clear to your kids what is okay to give out and not to give out online. Note: most social media accounts give the option of "private" following options; this makes it possible for you to screen who is attempting to follow your child online and gives you a little bit more control of what information is flowing back and forth. 
  • Be there. It's not enough to give out rules and reg's; make surfing the Web a fun, family activity. Guide your kids to kid-friendly sites, and teach them to search safely as well. Keep the conversation flowing! Share what you have found online with each other. 
  • Be critical. More kids than ever before get most of their homework help online. Help them evaluate their sources, and make sure that they are reputable.
  • Be informed. Get a copy of your kids' school use policies for the Web. Make sure that it's something you're comfortable with
  • Be visible. Where is your computer? Is it hidden away? If your kids use the computer on a regular basis, make sure that it's in a public place to make checking up on what they are doing easier. Yes, I'm advocating that you keep tabs on what your child is doing on the Web, especially if they are minors. Parents can't afford to be out of the loop when it comes to the Web; you need to know what your kids are doing online.

Kids safety on the Web should be a key component of every family's house rules. Installing appropriate boundaries for Web use will save you a lot of heartache in the long run, and make the Web a safe, educational, and yes - fun ​place to be.