Tweens, Teens, and Screens

internet safetyFor today’s tweens and teens, technology is part of the fabric of everyday life. They’re watching TV on lots of devices and using smartphones and tablets to maximum advantage — texting, researching, sharing, connecting — and generally causing lots of hand-wringing among parents who don’t know how much is too much.  Over the course of our work here at Reach Broadband we talk to a lot of parents who are always concerned about the level of internet use their kids are using and of course what content they are being subjected to.

This extensive use of the web by kids does bear some serious risk. Here’s some of our guidelines on how to keep your kids safe in the World Wide Web.

Agree on internet rules with your children

Agreeing on rules everybody is happy with is the best way to internet safety. Totally forbidding your children to go online is not the right way. Instead, show your kids which websites are safe for them to visit. Also, you might want to accompany your children on their first steps on the internet.

If you aren’t familiar with the web, ask you children to introduce you to it. They are often quite savvy with the internet as they’re growing up with it.

Be aware of what your children do on the internet

It can be useful to have an overview about what sites your kids visit regularly. Also, you should know if they have any online friends.

This doesn’t mean you can spy on your kids. Everything must be based on trust. If you spy on your children, they might hide their activity from you on purpose.

Agree with your children on always telling you instantly when they see something on the internet that makes them feel uncomfortable. In that case, don’t get mad at them or punish them, but talk with them about it. Otherwise they won’t tell you such things anymore.

Make your kids aware of potential dangers

It is essential that you teach your child not to blindly rely on any information they get from the web. They should never give out any personal information without thinking about it twice. Also, they can never be sure that their online friend’s identity is real.

If your kids want to meet an online friend, they should talk to you about it before. You should check the friend’s profile together with your children. If you decide to permit your children to meet someone they know from the internet, better accompany them on the first meeting.

Tell your children about the possible dangers of downloads. Younger children should never download anything without your permission.

Security settings on your computer

The security settings that your operating system and most browsers offer are a good way to protect your children and your computer.

Your kids should always use a restricted account (Standard account on Windows 8 or later) on the computer. Windows 8 even comes with a specific account type for children that offers even more protection.

Search engines, such as Google often offer a filter that hides inappropriate search results. It is recommended to turn this filter on the highest level for your children.

There are several web blockers available that can block the access to inappropriate websites. It someone attempts to visit such a website, a failure message appears or the browser asks for a password.

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