Just as books and television before it, the Internet has become one of your child’s new best friends. This new friend has it all: videos, stories, music, information, and more. But just as parents worry about their child crossing the street, the same anxiety exists when your child ventures onto the information superhighway. For every child-friendly website, there are many more that are dangerous. To help your family navigate the ‘net, here are some internet safety for kids tips to protect your child and your peace of mind.
Block adult sites with Google’s SafeSearch
Adult sites are among the greatest concerns of parents whose children are beginning to explore the Internet. One of the best ways to prevent your child from discovering inappropriate content begins with your search engine. Most search engines have parental controls in their settings menus that can prohibit adult and other sites from appearing. In Google, setting these controls works this way:
- After opening your browser, enter the search engine and select “Settings” corner.
- From the pop up menu, select “Search Settings.”
- Select “Turn On SafeSearch”. You can also lock SafeSearch using a password so that only mom, dad, or other authorized caregivers can make changes.
Don’t forget to set SafeSearch on smartphones and tablets
Mobile devices can be locked as well. In this case, simply access the “Preferences” menu and select the “filter out explicit results” option.
Safety on YouTube
Even YouTube, which remains a popular destination for watching everything from television episodes to cat videos, can carry content that’s inappropriate for younger children. Fortunately, YouTube has a security option as well. Enabling the option is as simple as clicking on the restricted mode.
Choose secure browsers
Browsers have different security levels and it’s worth the time to familiarize yourself with those differences. A few moments educating yourself can mean the difference between security protocols that keep your child safe and those that fall prey to software that’s getting more and more sophisticated at accessing unprotected devices.
Beware of your personal data
The first, best step toward internet safety for kids is to talk with them. Establish clear—and firm—guidelines regarding what sites are permitted and prohibited, how much time can be spent online, what files on the computer or phone are off limits, etc. Additionally, it’s a good idea not to share your passwords, photos, addresses, and other personal information online.
Using specific kid-oriented apps for smartphones and tablets provides a great alternative to internet safety for kids – to direct Internet browsing. Apps such as PlayKids give children the digital equivalent of their own yard to play in. Children can safely explore, enjoy, and learn from videos, books, and games without wandering “into the street.” No security filter is 100% infallible and parental vigilance is strongly recommended no matter how good your security filters are. One of the safest alternatives are apps like PlayKids, where children can play with or without parental supervision, without fear of wandering onto the Internet. So, how about having a play date with us?