Healthy Home, Healthy Living, Healing Spaces, Healthy Body by Ruan

Children’s Privacy Online: For Kids Who Type

by editorial team and Sophia Ruan Gushée

 

As with any land of opportunity, the cyber world offers both possibilities and risks.

Just as we teach children basic safety rules in the real world (like looking both ways before crossing the street, and always wearing a seat belt in the car), parents can teach children simple protocols to be responsible and safe online.

Children Online

Through the internet, kids have the world at their fingertips. With just a click of a finger, children can access all kinds of helpful and interesting information.

Online activities can be fun, educational, and engaging. But the online world has a dark side that kids can stray into accidentally, or deliberately out of curiosity. With awareness, parents can help protect their family.

Learn what parts of the cyber world may intrigue your child. Parents baby proof their homes, research the safest car seats, and read food labels for dangerous additives. Parents can use a similar vigilance when considering internet safety.

Learning internet safety is as simple as getting online. There are great websites to help parents navigate unfamiliar territory, such as Get Net Wise.

Set Clear Rules and Internet Boundaries

Children and teens won’t always appreciate the risks from sharing personal information online. And, while they might not necessarily agree with their parents, clear rules are helpful. Parenting offers the following tips on keeping kids' privacy safe on the internet.

1. Never share personal information. Teach children never to give personal information online to anyone without their parents’ permission. Personal information includes anything that identifies the child or location, like:

  • Name
  • Phone Number
  • Email Address
  • Password
  • Address
  • Zip Code
  • School
  • Photos

2. Instruct children and teens not to open emails from people they don’t know. Opening emails from untrusted senders present various risks, including software viruses or inappropriate access to personal information.

3. Children should not respond to disturbing or antagonizing messages. They should be careful of who they engage with.

4. Never meet strangers met online. Children should never meet someone they met online in the “real world” without parents' consent.

Additional Safety Options for Parents

1. ISPs. Most internet service providers have free parental controls that can help parents monitor their children’s access to websites by age, content, and even time. Web resources (like How-To Geek) teach parents how to utilize free parental controls on their home network service provider.

2. Parent control programs. Tech Radar triages the best free and current parental control programs for parents. 

3. Browsers. Most browsers offer safe-surfing options, like Internet Explorer’s Content Advisor. Parents can check under Tools/Internet Options/Content to see what is available.

4. Limit websites that kids can visit. For younger kids, stick to child-safe sites, like Yahooligans or Great Websites for Kids.

5. Software for Security. Kids are creative and curious, and don’t always follow the rules or get everything right. Parents can purchase software for additional protection. Some parents limit their children’s access to risky web pages by installing restrictive software. PC Magazine lists the best parental controls for parent’s review.

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