The amount of time kids are spending online has been on a steady incline for the past 10 years. This means that child predators are having an easier time finding prospective victims.
As parents, it’s our duty to educate and protect our kids from potentially dangerous people.
That’s why we’ve built a list of ways to help stave off those that would do harm to your child.
Share your thoughts in the comments below.
1 – Don’t be a SHARENT
If you’re a parent who loves to post photos or videos of your kids, you may be unknowingly exposing them too much. “Sharenting” is the act of excessively posting crucial information and media about your child.
It’s OK to share pictures of your kids. However, limit who can see them. By controlling the audience, you can reduce the chances of a predator latching on to your child.
2 – Talk to Your Kids
This may seem obvious, but many parents forget that communication is the first line of defense for your child. Educating them on the potential dangers of the internet can help them self-regulate their online activities.
There are bad people out there. Your kid needs to be able to recognize them, especially in a digital world. It’s not 100% on you (the parent), to protect your kids. They have their part to play as well
3 – Educate Yourself
It’s hard to teach your child how to protect himself and to set rules for him if you don’t know how online predators operate. Grooming tactics are simple tactics used by pedophiles to lure your kids. Be sure you know how to spot them.
4 – Install Parental Control Software
Learn how to apply filters to your internet, set age restrictions on YouTube, create open-door policies with passwords. Be sure to tell your children you are NOT spying on them, you are trying to keep them safe.
5 – Establish Rules
Strictly banning certain activities, apps or gadgets may not be the answer. In fact, it may worsen the problem by tempting your child to access them without your supervision.
Create reasonable rules to keep them safe:
- Don’t post personal information (full name, address, school, etc.)
- Don’t use pictures that may appeal to online predators
- Don’t share photos or videos that may show where you live, go to school or hang out
- Don’t talk to strangers
- NEVER meet someone you met online without parental supervision
Some rules may change depending on the age of your child. Gamers need to know not to share information with other gamers. Snapchat is another platform that can be a haven for predators. Be sure to keep a close eye on any of your kids who have access to these.
6 – Move the Computer to a Family Room
Anything can happen behind closed doors. Put the computer somewhere visible so you can keep an eye on their activities.
Do remember that kids have other means of accessing the internet. Pay attention to their mobile devices and other computers.
7 – Limit their time Online
Too much time online, especially at night, can be a problem. Make sure that young children do not use chat rooms at all.
Younger kids should also share a family email address.