By: SOS International
Do you ever feel like your whole life is online? Like your children constantly need your phone or computer for youtube, video games, or even homework? In the United States, 40% of sex trafficking victims are recruited online. Even if your child is not at high risk of being trafficked, having practical web safety practices will serve them into adulthood. It can feel overwhelming to know how to keep your children safe in such a digital world. Here are 5 practical steps you can take to make it a little easier.
Be available and present as much as possible and join your kids while they are working on homework and research. This is a great opportunity to set up good family practices together. It also makes you a source of help when it comes to navigating things they learn online. When all opinions are presented as “truth” and every point of view has “facts,” being present allows you to actively help build your child’s worldview.
Keep Open Communication
Kids are more likely to be open and talk if something goes wrong when a parent is committed to staying open. If they are afraid of punishment from their parents, they will be more likely to hide their online activity. Look for ways and opportunities to coach your kids on what healthy online interaction looks like.
Keep Your Computer in an Open Area
If you have a home computer, move it to an area where you can easily see what family members are engaging in. Have frequent discussions about the good family internet practices that have been agreed upon.
Set Parental Controls
Be available and present as much as possible, but with the realities of life, at some point, your children will likely be online without you around. Parental controls are a great way to add a layer of safety.
Here are a few we like:
Be on the Same Page
Make sure parents and caregivers are on the same page and working as part of a team to provide clarity and consistency in your family’s online practices. Consistency between guardians is key to helping children understand the seriousness of the matter and helps to uphold boundaries.