Being online is one of those activities that we cannot do without these days. The internet has become inseparable from our daily activities. As more and more of our daily lives become incorporated into the virtual world, such as work, school, and most importantly our social lives, we also expose ourselves to dangers that inherently go with internet access. This goes both ways, with these bad, we also get all the benefits internet access has to offer. The younger generation, especially those born in the 2010’s have become the internet “natives” which means that they have not experienced life without high-speed internet. These younger “natives” need the most parental guidance as exposure to the internet is inevitable. For younger parents, the internet is a trove of information especially on rearing kids. Self-help websites and blogs like Wemomslife.com are all over the World Wide Web, offering content that helps along young parents, especially mothers. From a myriad of subjects on parenting, we will take a look at how we can protect our children online.
To properly take the next steps in online protection for your family, it is necessary to be aware of what is out there that can hurt our children and us when online. The most common danger is those that are out to get your information either by hacking into your home network and getting your personal and financial data. By far these should be the least of our worries, as other dangers are out there that specifically target our children. Online predators and cyberbullying are chief among them. I apologize if this sounds a bit grim, but we want to bring home the importance of online safety especially for kids. Fortunately, with a little bit of practical know-how and common sense, we can avoid and counter most of these dangers.
The Little Things
There are details that only you as the parent would and can do, for example, do not put computers or smart TVs in your kids’ bedroom if you are trying to limit their online time. By doing this, you are not actually telling them they cannot watch tv or surf the net, but you are not making it easy for them either, right? Set proper expectations even before buying them their gadgets, such as specific times for their usage. Just like all things with kids, it has to be a tug of war and endless bargaining to get them to do the “proper” things eventually. Another helpful tip is to have the computer set up in a common area of the house, a kind of a library for example for more controlled usage. Set up your Wi-Fi so that coverage will be limited in their bedrooms if at all possible. It would also be a good idea to let them know what happens when they abuse screen time. Let them be aware of the serious medical consequences of non-stop playing or viewing gadgets. Sometimes, just letting them know what will happen works.
Know Your Tech
This is something that a parent today needs to do. When setting up your home network, you have to have a hand in it and just do not let the installers have free reign. As soon as the internet is installed and working, it is time for you to get to work. Change the device password from its default. Read the manuals on how to do it, or consult the web. For you to have a secure home network to prevent hackers, scammers, and eavesdroppers from listening in, you have to install robust and secure passwords on all your network devices. A good password needs to be both long and complicated, start with 12-15 characters with a complexity to match. Use them on your devices, like the modem and the router and your Wi-Fi network password too. Most modern routers also have companion apps for desktop and smartphone use. With this, it is effortless to monitor who, what, and how many are connected to your network at any given time. With the same app, you can cut or limit bandwidth usage on any device that is connected to your network.
Walking the Talk
You might have noticed, and there is a lot that depends on you as parents. Those are not all that you can do but doing those things above can afford you some relative measure of safety for your kids online. Aside from those, being a good example is undoubtedly one of the ways that will work if nothing else seems to.