Now that summer is upon us, it means, inevitably, that your child is probably spending a bit more time on the family's tablet, laptop, or computer. And so long as he or she is also spending a healthy amount of time outdoors, that's okay! There are a lot of child-friendly apps and games out there that are as educational as they are fun. But it's important to remember that even though your child may be spending time indoors, you still have to watch out for his or her safety. In today's digital realm, threats are just as likely to come from online as they are in real life.
Thankfully, protecting your child from online threats is simple – so long as you know what precautions to take. Taking basic measures to safeguard your child from inappropriate content and potential predators can help ensure his or her online experience is safe, rewarding, and fun. Here are some helpful tips that can make this summer one the whole family enjoys.
Use the Tablet's Built-in Safety Features
One of the simplest and most effective ways of protecting your child online is using your device's parental controls. Carriers like T-Mobile also have child-friendly family plans with added security benefits for parents. Whether you want to limit your son or daughter's access to your brand-new iPad Mini 3, or simply want to limit what they access online, built-in safety settings can enable you to customize the device around your needs. Set passwords, determine access privileges, and filter out content types, all right from your “Preferences” menu. As a parent, you can essentially tailor your son or daughter's online experience.
Set Expectations for Your Child
There are a multitude of tips and tricks that can help you protect your child online. One thing that you'll find to be universally accepted is that as a parent, it's up to you to set guidelines for your child. It's important to have a conversation with your son or daughter so that your child is aware of what behavior is acceptable – and what behavior is unacceptable or even dangerous. You may be surprised at how effective this strategy is. Kids like guidance, and if you set firm ground rules, it can help promote appropriate and safe behavior.
Consider Monitoring Software
Monitoring apps may not be for everyone. When it comes to privacy and a child's rights, no two parents are the same. Something that is acceptable to you may not be to someone else, and vice versa. That being said, there are a number of effective monitoring apps that can enable you to keep track of your children – both in a literal and figurative sense. Some monitoring apps – like Family Tracker – tie into a device's built-in GPS, allowing you to monitor your child's whereabouts at all times. Others provide extensive browsing and texting logs so that you can monitor your child's device usage. Such applications can be incredibly beneficial, and may be worth considering if you have concerns about your child's online or real-life habits.
Be an Active Participant
When it comes to your son or daughter's online habits, stay informed and aware. It may be all that is required to ensure that he or she is having a safe and pleasant experience. By being an active participant, you can monitor your children in real-time – rather than after the fact. Just as you likely limit and monitor the movies and television shows that your kids watch, you should limit and monitor the websites and games that your kids interact with as well. And above all else, keep track of your children's online friends. After all, if you don't know who your children are talking to online, how can you ensure that they have your child's best interests in mind? Stay active and engaged in your children's lives.
A Safe Summer Doesn't Have to be Boring!
As you can see, protecting your children from online threats hardly has to be an exercise in excess. By taking simple and easily implemented safety precautions, you can protect your child from predators, shield them from inappropriate and adult content, and ensure that they're not getting into things that they shouldn't be. Take action today and have a worry-free summer!