Cyber Safety tips for kids
How to ensure internet safety for your kids.
Here in this post I have given 5 vital tips for internet safety for kids which every parent needs to know to ensure online safety for their kids at the highest level. Of late e safety for your kids has assumed great significance given the dangers that lie in wait as our little ones increasingly go online and make more use of social networking sites and surf the web. The World Wide Web has more than its fair share of content that poses real threat to safety of our kids. While the web can be a wonderful source of information, fun and games for your kids, it can also prove to be a dangerous place for the innocents due to free availability of inappropriate adult materials online and presence of sexual predators that use the web to prey on small children. The internet being a great source of knowledge and education that can enrich the lives of every member of the family the solution to this can not lie on cutting off your kids’ access to the web. Rather, giving more stress on internet safety for kids by installing a few essential safety tools may go a long way to safeguard their online activities.
Internet safety for Kids:5 Cyber Safety Tips
1. Have a password.
Create a password for your PC and keep it secret from your kids if they are under 10 years of age. Whenever they need to use the computer, you should log on to the system on their behalf using the password.
For older children, create a separate account with administrative privileges and a password for them. The new account also needs to be configured to set up ‘parental controls’ so that you can control what programs or files your children can access or whether they can install a program or not. To create such account, go to Control Panel and then to ‘Add or remove user Accounts’ in Windows. For more information on ‘parental control’ you can visit Set-up-Parental-Controls.
2. Install a child safe browser.
If your kids are too young, it is suggested to install a child safe browser, ‘Kidzui’ on your PC. The program allows the kids to access only those websites which are scrutinized and approved by the KidZui team so that the contents of the sites are absolutely safe for them. You can get the browser from here. Alternatively, you can go for the ‘free’ Pikluk Browser, which is also a very good browser for protecting children from internet. You may get it from here.
3. Use ‘Open DNS Family Shield’ service.
While surfing the web your kids are at risk of accessing contents unsuitable for children. ‘OpenDNS’ is a web-based filtering tool to provide e-safety and protect our children from internet abuse. This tool is pre-configured to block adult contents on your internet connection. You are required to create an account with ‘OpenDNS FamilyShield’ in order to use this web based free service. Once the account is created you can use the ‘Family Shield’ filter of the tool, which will ensure that your kids are not allowed access to inappropriate websites that you want to block. The filter is continuously updated to add new sites. However, one shortcoming with this online child protection service is that the older children might be able to find out ways to by-pass this tool. You can create a free account for this tool at Open Dns website.
4. Install K9 Web Protection
For older children who might bypass OpenDns, you need to download and install ‘K9 Web Protection’ on your PC, which is a free internet filter and parental control software. Once installed, you can use the program to control internet access of your children on the computer. This program works on both Windows and Mac. It can block harmful web sites by category including adult sites, dating, drugs, violence etc. It generates a log of URLs accessed by your children during a web browsing session and can even allow parents to put time restrictions on internet access by their kids. You can get this application free from here.
5. Use Norton Safety Minder (NSM)
If you are using Windows XP even now or if you feel that the inbuilt parental controls in Windows (Vista and 7) are not sufficient to provide desired level of e-safety for our children online, there is a free and effective software in the form of Norton Safety Minder(NSM) which helps parents to monitor their child's browsing sessions. To use this free software you need to register with ‘Norton Online Family’ as in case of paid software.
The software can keep an eye on your child’s web browsing activities including for the social networking sites and even block and filter inappropriate web sites. It can generate logs for the web browsing sessions of your kids and can monitor what they are messaging on instant messengers and even oversee what they are searching on Google. A similar application is also available for iPad and iPhones that enables you not only to monitor the NSM logs but also to switch the features of the software ‘on’ or ‘off’ remotely. You can get the software free from Norton online family website.
Parent's guide to ensure internet safety for kids
Apart from taking safeguards with the help of the safety tools mentioned above, open dialogue with the young ones about the online issues would also greatly help in providing increased e-safety for your kids. It’s never too early to speak to your child. In order to facilitate a safer computing experience to our little ones I have mentioned below few tips to ensure internet safety for kids on some of the important issues concerning online child protection that every parent needs to talk about.
1. Discuss about potential dangers.
Have a frank discussion with your kids about the potential dangers they could come across online from cyber criminals and sexual predators and the importance of the tools to ensure internet safety for children. You don't have to scare them, but teach them that they should not compromise their offline family values while online. Tell them that they should only communicate with people they know personally and encourage them to let you know if anyone makes them feel uncomfortable or to report any issues of concern to you immediately.
2. Set Reasonable e-safety rules for kids.
As e safety for your kids you should lay down few rules and guidelines for computer use by your children after discussing with them. Make sure that your child adheres to these set rules. As a good general rule you should set the amount of time per day your kids can spend on the computer need to be set and they should not be allowed to download and install anything on the computer without your consent. For older children, downloading of any illegal software, video or music should be strictly prohibited
3. Enable Safe Searches.
For internet safety for kids, activate search-engine filters to limit their access to inappropriate sites. This will minimize the risk of your child from accidentally stumbling upon harmful websites while surfing the net.
4. Bookmark Websites for kids.
For easy access, bookmark URLs of websites which are frequently visited by your kids. This will reduce the probability of your child to fall upon inappropriate contents unintentionally while searching the web.
5. Teach your kids to recognize scams.
Explain your child about how to spot scams. Show them the indicative signs of scams like pop-up ads encouraging downloading something free or directing to ‘click here’, offering free products, music or games through e-mail etc.
6. Check Social Media handling by your kids.
Encourage your kids to carefully consider the contents they post online including videos and photos which are permanent and can spoil their repute. Also explain to them how sharing personal information online such as phone number, home address, school name, e-mail address etc, compromises internet safety for children.
7. Regulate online time for your kids.
Although internet is a great source of knowledge and education for your kids it is imperative to limit the time they spent daily on the computer. Allocate a certain amount of time per day for your kids to be online at a specific time of the day such as before or after their school hours. Children shouldn't expend too much time on computer which is not good for their health. Encourage them to participate in other activities like outdoor sports or pursuing their favorite hobbies.
Given the dangers that prowl on the Web, it becomes imperative for every responsible parent to know and follow the tips given in this post to ensure internet safety for kids. In order to provide best possible safety to their kids the parents need to stay abreast of the latest news in the online security world concerning cyber safety for kids. The parents should always encourage an open dialogue with the younger generation about online child protection issues, which will have considerable effect in safeguarding their young ones from internet abuse while they socialize online and surf the web.