Keeping your child safe isn’t as simple as it once was. Teaching them not to talk to strangers and how to cross the street safely has given way to safeguarding them against online predators, and now, even keeping their identity from being stolen. From internet scams, identity theft, and yes, abusers using the computer to lure kids into dangerous situations, it is more important than ever to protect your kids' privacy when they are online.
Users are Getting Younger
Kids are using the internet and smartphones at a younger and younger age. That means that parents have to be more diligent than ever in keeping their child safe. Remember, what they post today will remain out there for decades to come. So what can you do to ensure that mistakes your child makes now won’t haunt them in the future?
Talk Early and Often
It is never too early to begin discussing the pitfalls of social media and other online platforms. If your kid is old enough to hold a smartphone, they are old enough to learn the rules. But don’t settle for a single chat – revisit your family’s online rules and expectations often. Remember, platforms change swiftly in the world of today’s internet. Be sure that as changes occur, your child is well versed on what is acceptable interaction and what isn’t.
Know What Platforms Your Kids are On – All of Them!
Yes, it is difficult for parents to keep up with the newest and most popular online games, apps and social media offerings. But don’t become complacent. Make a monthly check of your child’s online interactions and be especially wary of new games and apps – even those that look safe. Dig deeper. There are hundreds of “secret apps” now being used by preteens and teens to keep parents in the dark about their online activities.
Turn on All Do Not Track Tools
Kids love checking in with their friends – and they do so often. Whether it is your middle-schooler tracking their BBF’s after school activities or your senior in high school showing everyone the great burger he got while dining out with friends, kids (and adults too) have become obsessed with keeping everyone in their sphere in the know about their whereabouts. But this is extremely dangerous! Be sure that the tracking tools on all of your child’s apps are turned off – and stay off! This will block those who shouldn’t know your child’s whereabouts from getting it.
Teach Your Child What’s Safe to Click On
One click and an advertiser knows more about your kid than you do. As scary as that may seem, imagine what an unscrupulous person can do with that information. Take the time to learn how people are gathering personal information on the internet and teach your child strategies to avoid them.
If you are like most parents, you may be feeling more than a bit overwhelmed by how much you don’t know about keeping your kids safe while they are online. For help for both you and your kids, check out these learning sites that can help you both learn how to avoid common internet traps:
The staff at Wright Smiles Pediatric Dentistry wants to help you keep your child safe. Whether it is safeguarding their beautiful smile, or helping you keep them from falling into common internet traps, we are here to help you.