Children’s Firewalls: Tips for Parents on Internet Security
You may rest easy when your child is home, but this doesn’t necessarily mean he or she is safe. Thanks to the internet, your child is exposed to dangers like pornography, predators and propaganda even in the comfort of his or her own room. To protect your child from these risks, here are some tips on internet security:
Tip #1: Get educated
The first thing you need to do is get educated on how technology works, the potential dangers online and what to look out for. You won’t be able to protect your child without knowing things like internet jargon or even what to protect your children from. You can start by reading up on internet safety, internet security, internet jargon and other basic courses.
Tip #2: Teach your kids
There’s a good chance your kids, especially teenagers, know more about the internet than you do. However, you still need to teach them how to deal with online dangers and other situations that could make them feel uncomfortable when surfing. Here are a few tips you can teach your kids when they communicate online:
- Never reveal your real name to anyone on the internet, no matter what. Instead, use a nickname.
- If you see something on your computer that makes you feel uncomfortable, like maybe a picture or message, tell your parents or teacher immediately.
- Never ever share any personal information to anyone, especially on the internet. Never reveal details like your age, phone number, home address or even school. Don't reveal your passwords to anyone, not even your BFF.
- If anyone wants to meet you in person, say no and immediately tell your parents or teacher. The person you're dealing with might just be pretending to be a kid like you, and could actually be an adult.
Tip #3: Use a family computer
There should be a family computer that everyone can use and it should be placed in a common area. It’s placed in a common area so that you would be able to monitor what your child is doing online.
Tip #4: Limit your child’s internet
To protect your child online, his or her internet access should be limited to the common family computer. And if your child has a computer in his or her room, this shouldn’t have any internet access. Likewise, your child’s cell phone, if he or she has one, shouldn’t have any online capability either.
Tip #5: Install net-filtering software
You can always get net-filtering software to keep questionable content out of your computer. They’re somewhat limited, but they get the job done when it comes to filtering content. However, you should take great care when taking this approach. It might work with younger kids, but as they grow older, heavy-handed rules could negatively affect your relationship with them.
Tip #7: Set up a firewall
You can also limit content and keep out child predators by setting up a firewall, which basically controls incoming and outgoing traffic. Many computer operating systems have built-in software firewalls. Here’s how you can set up yours.
Tip #5: Be a parent
Look, you can comb through your children’s browser histories and temporary internet files, or load your computer with the most expensive net-filtering software, but there is no substitute for parenting, especially when your children are online.