Follow these tips to keep your kids safe while they’re navigating their digital world.
The Center for Cyber Safety and Education found that 90% of kids in grades 4th through 8th had at least one device (phone, tablet, and computer), so the vast majority of our kids are on the web. Setting boundaries for access is important.
- Regulate usage times, especially at night when most of the unfiltered access happens.
- You can’t protect them from what you can’t see, so allow them to use their devices in common areas or better yet with you.
- If there must be a computer in a bedroom, make sure the screen faces the door so you can check in on their usage.
- Keep devices in a central location in the evening – devices can go to sleep while charging, just like their human owners.
- Consider signing a device contract with your child to develop ground rules together.
Giving a child a device connected to the Internet without controls is like giving them a car without driving lessons. It’s highly risky and dangerous.
- Many devices can be set up so a child’s account cannot download apps without parental consent. Preventing unauthorized purchases limits fraud and the possibility a child will be lured to download inappropriate content.
- Always set up the device controls before giving it to your child.
- Remember that parental controls are not just for devices; individual applications also allow parental controls in many instances.
This may be a hard one for parents, as kids will think you don’t trust them. But monitoring your child’s access and online activity can be a key way to prevent future crises.
- Consider various programs to help with monitoring – from free ones like Apple Families or Google Family, to paid services like Net Nanny, Bark, and Life 360.
- If you pay for a monitoring service, carefully read the terms and conditions so you know what information is being monitored and who has access to that information.
- The device contract you create with kids can include transparent information about how you will monitor their use. This can help kids understand you do trust them, but want to keep them safe from others who might not have their best interests at heart.
For more information on privacy security, cyber bullying, and communicating with your children about their digital world, visit www.commonsense.org/education
for the Digital Citizenship program. Parents and teachers can access free content including videos and exercise to help your K-12 age children understand the importance of cyber safety.
Watch our Child Cyber Safety webinars on-demand.