Parenting is never easy. There are so many dangers and difficulties to watch out for, and in recent decades, a whole new arena of potential pitfalls has opened up. We can certainly say that the Internet offers kids advantages and opportunities that no generation has ever had before but with that comes a whole new set of dangers – many of which parents are unaware of or oblivious to.
In order to keep your kids safe online, there are a few things you can do and a few tips worth teaching to your kids, such as …
According to a study by Teen Angels of Wired Safety.org, around 75% of 8-9 year olds share passwords with someone else while 66% or 10-13 years olds admit the same. Password safety tips which everyone should follow include:
- Do NOT share them with anyone
- Do NOT write them down or leave them where someone can access them (you can use apps or computer programmes to store all your passwords safely)
- Ensure the passwords you pick are not easy to guess – always aim for longer passwords of 8-10 characters with a combination of lower case and capital letters, symbols and numbers
There are dozens of popular social network sites and millions more niche and obscure networking sites. Trying to keep your kids off them is like pushing water up hill, so it’s better to get it all out in the open and teach them how to be safe online.
- Talk to your kids about what they’re doing, open up a dialogue and be honest
- Set some ground rules about the times they’re allows on social networks and how long for
- Help them adjust privacy settings to prevent them being contacted by unknown individuals or having their posts publicly viewable
- Explain the risks of talking to people they don’t know and remind them to NEVER meet with someone they’ve met on a social media site or send them any personal details (including addresses, contact numbers and photos)
This is a potentially very dangerous area and one you need to keep a very close eye on. Buying goods online can be very easy, and it can be just as easy to get ripped off if kids aren’t sure of what they’re doing.
- Make sure you are present and paying attention when your kids are buying anything online and do some research to make sure it’s a reputable site first
- There are a number of escrow payment sites online that will hold money until certain checks have been completed on the seller so use these wherever possible – like software escrow sites, they are independent third party and trusted provider sites that protect your interests and investments
- Always keep credit and debit card details safe so that children cannot authorise transactions without your permission and always check your bank and credit card statements thoroughly to flag any discrepancies or unfamiliar payments