7 Tips for Keeping Your Pre-teen Safe Online
There is no avoiding it: your preteen will want (and even need) to use the Internet for an array of tasks, from school research to communicating with friends. Unfortunately, you also can’t avoid the fact that the Internet is full of dangers that can reach your child. There are some simple and practical steps you can take to ensure your child’s safety while surfing the web. Here are seven tips for keeping your preteen safe online:
Limit online time. You can’t always be there to monitor your preteen’s Internet use, but you can do things to ensure that your teen can only use the computer when you are there to monitor. Consider password-protecting the system or moving the computer to a different room when you can’t be there, and limiting online time to when you are there.
Dangerous downloads. Instruct your preteen to always ask you before downloading a new program or file. Children can very easily download spyware without even knowing it, compromising their personal information.
Inform your child of Internet dangers. As you know, the Internet is the perfect playground for opportunists of all types. The best protection your children have against malicious people is information. When they know how to identify perpetrators, they can avoid them. Equip them with the knowledge they need to do that.
Set Rules. Be very clear of what appropriate online behavior is and is not, and outline rules as well as consequences for breaking those rules. With your rules, define what kind of sharing your preteens can and cannot do online, what they can and can’t do with their time online, what they should do if they suspect someone is trying to take advantage of them, and what types of websites they are and aren’t able to visit.
Monitor computer use. This is a simple solution to the problem of safety: keep the computer in an area of the house that is open, and where you can easily monitor what your child is doing online.
Install a site blocking application. There are a lot of great applications that allow you to block sites that you are not comfortable with your child visiting. Simply install the program and set the blocking to your specifications.
Don’t forget the mobile phone. Chances are your preteen either has a mobile phone or has access to regular use of one. All the same rules need to apply to Internet access through the mobile phone, as well.
As you can see, protecting your preteen’s online safety will take some time, effort, and vigilance. Ensure your child’s best chances of having the safest possible Internet experience by following these tips.
About the Author: Alvaro Nydam is the father of 2 children, ages 3 and 12. His daughter is learning to use computers for communication and research and between purchasing new Dell ink cartridges to handle her constant need to print things and monitoring her web use, he really has his hands full.