It seems we’re past the point where only setting down the rules and installing some content filters is not nearly enough to prevent exposing our children from inappropriate content. While kids today are the real experts in technology, they’re not yet good enough at evaluating the real value of the content they’re consuming, and that’s where a concerned parent should come in.
Everyone has thought the same thing: How can I protect my children online? There are many tips and so-called “secrets” to protect your children from wandering into the cruder, more dangerous part of YouTube and the internet in general, so if you have kids of your own and want to protect them from that harmful influence, then pay close attention to these tips.
Play content cop with their browsers
All the most popular web browsers have the option to turn on different safeguards, content filters for lewd content, bad language, and violence in general, so be sure to fiddle around with those before letting your kids browse the internet.
Even if you do activate the parental controls, this doesn’t mean you should just let them consume internet content at their leisure just because there are a couple of filters set up. Only let them surf the internet where you can easily see the screen, or at the very least be a helicopter parent and check on them constantly from beginning to end.
Be wary of content ratings for your kids
One of the most popular activities for kids around the internet is, of course, gaming. This means that you’ll have to know the difference between a T and an M when it comes to the ESRB video game content ratings. They will tell you what ages the game is appropriate for and what specifically makes it have that rating.
However, you should be aware that online interactions are not rated by the ESRB, so even if a game is age-appropriate for your children, the tone of the online community playing this game might not be so. At least for the first few times, be right there with them when they’re playing and set limits for how long they can do it.
Create separate accounts for your kids on mobile and computer
You might not even have known this before, but phones and tablets let you set up different accounts for separate users, which means that you can leave your profile as is while making a content-restricted one for your kids. For the time being, Apple products are a little more versatile with their restrictions, but Android devices also let you restrict their Google Play account.
Having a family computer means monitoring your children’s internet use, but the option of separating your user account from theirs is still recommended. This way, you can turn off permissions to use different features, apps, and many other options, keeping their internet history as clean as your house.
Chaperone their chat sessions at all times
Even when kid-friendly platforms that allow kids to chat with other kids, it’s important to be there to protect your children online interactions, especially when it comes to strangers. Teach them not to use their real identities online, even on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram (not that they should have it so young!) and to use online handles instead.
Educating them on the risks of communicating through the internet can be a delicate subject, but if you’re patient and explain to them how to avoid falling into the traps of cyberbullies, scammers and all sorts of unsavory figures prowling through the web.
Use additional filtering software
There’s no shame in trusting content-filtering software like Net Nanny, which wipes out all sorts of violent, graphics and generally sketchy internet content. It also offers remote management tools to let you check on your kid’s activities even while away from the house.
Going the extra mile to help your children stay out of trouble online is important, but remember also to be there to always answer any question they have and to explain anything what they’re seeing and how it can affect them. Appropriate supervision is much more than just being right behind the 100% of the time; they also depend on your guidance to know how to confront these situations when they grow older.