The following is a guest post from momAgendaCOMM blogger Kris Cain.
Before I even had children, I was aware of the security dangers that users faced online; identity theft, credit card hacking, and social media privacy – these are just some of the things we constantly have to worry about. Throughout my job as a computer technician, one of the things that kept me quite busy was cleaning up computers that contracted viruses from their owners browsing the internet.
Now that I am a mother, my worries have multiplied. Not only do I have to keep my kids safe from dangers in the home and when we go out, but also I have to keep them safe from the dangers lurking behind their computer screens and mobile devices.
And my internet security worries are not limited to my own devices (where I usually just make sure that my virus software is up to date). The concern also surrounds other devices where I have to install parental controls to protect young eyes from inappropriate content and protect my devices from curious little fingers!
Here are 5 tips that will help to keep your kids safe while online:
1. Enable Parental Controls: Parental controls can be enabled on smartphones, tablets, computers, netbooks, and even your cable or satellite box. Check the settings of each device and enable it right away.
2. Update Your Virus Software: Viruses and malware can enter a computer from the most innocent of actions. Your child can be searching for their favorite gaming website, but one misspelling could lead them to a malicious site. This could cause your computer to become infected. Be sure to have security software with virus protection and keep it up to date.
3. Limit Their Time: I am all for kids learning to use technology. My kids use it all the time and they are good at it. I feel that children in this day and age must know their way around the computer to succeed. However, they are also kids. They need a healthy balance of “play” to go along with their use of technology. You may be able to set limits on your child’s devices. You can set time limits on the Kindle Fire using the FreeTime app. Some cable companies even allow you to set a time limit on the cable box. Depending on what you are using, your devices may have similar features.
4. Talk to Your Kids: Talk to your kids about the importance of not clicking on pop-up windows or other tempting things that may be displayed when web browsing. Teach them to come and get you FIRST if they are not sure about something displayed.
5. Limit Access to Various Websites: In addition to enabling general parental controls on your child’s computer or mobile device, you can limit the websites that they are allowed to visit. For very young children, you may want to limit this to their three favorite educational or gaming sites like Nick Jr. or Disney.
As parents in the digital age, it is up to us to guide our children in the right direction on how to use technology responsibly. In doing so, we may just learn something new ourselves.
Kris Cain is a Chicago area mom to two sets of twins. She is the owner of Little TechGirl Media where she works with companies, brands, and bloggers to use social media to its full advantage. On her blog, Little Tech Girl she writes about her love of gadgets, social media, and technology.
Connect with Kris on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.