Any parent will tell you that the safety of their children is the absolute most important thing in the world to them. Strange then that they don’t always think of this when it comes to the internet. It’s as if the online world and the real world don’t intersect at all, but they do and it really pays to remember that.
Most people have a social media account of some description these days and Facebook is one of the most popular. Sure, we all like to post lots of photos from family gatherings or holidays, but what about your kids? It might not be wise to post pictures of them. I know it’s something people really don’t want to think about, but there are predators out there and photographs of your children can tempt them. Couple this with the fact that you have posted which town you live in and pictures of your house and with a quick look on Google Streetview it’s reasonably easy for someone to determine where you live. You could be exposing your kids to risk by posting their photos.
Also, you should think twice about what your kids are allowed to do online. If you think you can leave them unsupervised because Net Nanny will lock them out of any dangerous sites you’re wrong. They probably know more about computers than you do and they can cover their tracks. What you don’t want is them going into chat rooms where predators may lurk or creating their own social media profiles – there are age limits on these sites for a reason although they are poorly enforced.
Some say that children under 16 shouldn’t be allowed on the internet at all, but that cannot happen. The internet is like the world’s biggest library and if it is used responsibly – both by kids and parents – then it is invaluable. Nowadays it’s a useful aid for homework and also can lead children towards reading and researching things for their own entertainment. Anything that stimulates the mind and encourages learning should definitely not be off-limits for children.
While it can be used for educational purposes the internet also contains a lot of entertainment. And while games and videos of cats doing funny things are relatively harmless it’s best not to allow children to spend limitless time with either. Just as with television it might be sensible to impose a limit on your child’s internet use. There’s no substitute for interacting with people in real life and going outside and playing in the fresh air and this should obviously be encouraged.
Learn how to stay safe and keep your kids safe online. For example, you can post family photos, but make your account private so only your friends, family or even selected people can see them – a private Instagram account is a great way to share photographs only with people who you want to see them.
Teach your kids the importance of internet safety too. It’s awful to think about but they need to know there are some bad people out there who might hurt them if they aren’t careful.
Schools teach children about computers and of course they will be making sure that they are safe if they’re online at school. Make sure you’re educated enough too.
Remember that the internet is a valuable tool for learning and it can be a lot of fun. Ensure you and your family are always safe and it will be much more enjoyable.