Biracial Parenting: Keeping Kids Safe Online Part 2.
We think about all kinds of things our children may face and how we will deal with those things when they arise, but one thing we don’t really think about is cyber stalking and the demand for beautiful and naive children in the illegal sex trade. Most of these children are hooked in online. So knowing how to keep our kids safe online is essential.
One of the most important tools we have is the ability to educate early. Be involved from the jump. You have the say on downloads, web surfing and passwords. You as the parent need to maintain all control. The internet is a wealth of information and keeps us all connected but it can be a dark and dangerous place too. We cannot afford to forget that no matter how responsible we think our children are.
Communicate about what sites your children are using and how they plan to stay safe. Talk about meeting strangers and the fact that some adults will pose as children online. Maintain an open dialogue about security and your expectations. Be strict but not to the point that they would worry or second guess coming to you for help or advice. While telling them the rules and making sure they understand and adhere to them is important, taking the time to scroll through history and messages is also important.
Set parental controls if nothing else but to monitor their activities. It is also smart to be the password keeper, and set that password for downloads as well. If your child has a social media page then make sure you are on their friends and contacts lists. Educate yourself about the sites, because some will allow you to change settings to where only certain friends can see things. No teenager needs 999 friends. Keep it to people you know or that they know. Have aunts and uncles on the friends lists too. I am the mom that would make a catfish page just to spy or see if they would accept a friend request from a stranger without my knowledge.
My question is would you do it or say it if I were sitting next to you? If not, then you probably shouldn’t do it or say it. Good old common sense and a few simple safety rules go a long way. If trust is broken treat it as a serious offense, because it is.
Maintain real world standards. Nothing is ever really private, and it is always out there in the abyss. Don’t talk to strangers, lock your door and be kind to others. Don’t confide things online that you wouldn’t in person. Make sure that they know the 10 year old girl they friended could be a 60 year old man, and make sure they know the warning signs.
With boundaries should come some rewards and freedoms according to age. Maintain that open dialogue, and put in the time to keep up with what they are doing. Make sure that they know the dangers of cyber-bullying, sexting, Facebook depression, scammers, pedophiles and the risk of seeing things that are inappropriate. Following real world rules will go a long way in protecting them from many of these things. Monitoring them will patch the open spaces and hopefully keep them safe in this sometimes too connected world that we live in. ~Spring
Tell us how you are keeping kids safe online. Please leave comments below!
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