5 tips to keep your kids safe online

  • By CRC
  • January 30, 2019

By Zach Marks, Founder of Grom Social “The safe social media destination for kids”.

Kevin Honeycutt1 describes internet safety by stating, “our kids are growing up on a digital playground and no one is on recess duty.” This to many parents is a scary thought, especially if they want to protect their kids from predators, bullying and other threats online. Here are 5 tips to keep your kids safe online:

Know where your kids are

This subject is twofold. Not only do you want to know where your kids are when they are not home, but you also want to know where they are when they are home. Today, being on the internet is like being out in the real world; and unfortunately, reveals the same risks of harm: exposure to predators. Make sure your child’s access to the internet is in a place where you can monitor it. To begin establishing boundaries, do not let your kids access the internet if they are not in the same room as you; and require them to share what and where they are visiting online. Once you have established boundaries for them and they have acted responsibly, you can loosen those reins and give your children more freedoms.

Know what they are doing online

As a parent, it is your responsibility to know what your kids are doing online. There are ways you can monitor this from afar, while also having designated places your children can go that are not only safer, but also fun. Let the internet work for you. Use web browser blocking and internet filters to ensure your kids don’t go to unsafe places. You have the ability to find safer alternatives for the places your kids want to go.

Give them time limits

The more time kids spend online, the more at risk they can be; and the more shut off from the real world they can become. Be a good role model and put down your phone too. Limit the time they can be online and help them to develop hobbies or interests offline. Join team sports, school clubs, go outside for a hike or have a family game night. In a recent article published by the New Zealand Herald, scientists warn parents, “Children as young as two are developing mental health problems because of smartphones and tablets.” Also adding, “Just an hour a day staring at a screen can be enough to make children more likely to be anxious or depressed.” 2 Scientists also discovered that children who are under five years old and high users of tablets and smartphones are “twice as likely to often lose their temper – and are 46 percent more prone to not be able to calm down when excited.” Vigilance starts early and using electronic devices to distract your kids at an early age may not be the best practice when trying to set the precedent to keep your kids safe online.

Openly communicate and be there for them

Have an open conversation with your kids about what and who is online. Make them comfortable about bringing things to your attention, whether it is something they have found on a website, in a video, in a post, or someone being “weird” in a chat room or asking for personal information. The more that they talk to you, the less likely they will confide in someone else. The more you know about their lives, the safer you can help them be.

Teach your kids how to be good digital citizens

Teaching children online safety is as important as teaching them how to cross the road. This may seem hard to do, but it is actually quite simple and there are many resources out there that can help you teach your children how to become good digital citizens. Being a good digital citizen means being safe and responsible online. It includes not sharing personal details online, being kind to others, and leaving a positive digital footprint by not posting or sharing anything that may haunt you later in life. If you would like to learn more or have your child take our free digital citizenship course please visit http://www.gromedu.com/login-educator.php. Use the login CRC4dcl and password dcl2CRC to access the content.

If you are looking for a safer alternative for your kids to be social online or an app to track their location and monitor their social media activity, check out these resources: GromSocial.com (a live, monitored social media destination for kids), MamaBearapp.com (an all-in-one parenting app), and GromEDU.com (for our other available products). I am so glad to have founded Grom Social, a place where your kids can be kids while learning the foundations of being a good digital citizen, five years ago when I was only 12. I am excited for our new Grom Social app to be launched at the end of January 2019 providing children a safer social media alternative that will be accessible on mobile devices.

I am proud that our company has partnered with Child Rescue Coalition to help further their mission to protect children from sexual exploitation. Their nonprofit rescues children from sexual abuse by building technology for law enforcement, free of charge, to track, arrest and prosecute child predators. By utilizing their CPS Technology, one of the most successful in proactively detecting and identifying those who prey on children, the Grom Social platform will have an additional layer of security to flag and filter out IP addresses which may be of concern.

References

Kevin Honeycutt is an international keynote speaker on technology, education and cyber-bullying prevention.
New Zealand Herald Smartphones, tablets causing mental health issues in kids as young as two