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Helping your children navigate new technology and the world-wide web is part and parcel of modern parenting.
The internet opens up a world of opportunity for youngsters – but brings with it inherent risks too. Make a point of discussing online safety as a family – and get input from other parents, counsellors and teachers in order to decide what rules you want to enforce. Limiting screen time and keeping the family computer in a communal area of the house are good starting points.
Keeping up-to-date with the latest apps and social media sites might be bewildering, but it’s a sure-fire way of knowing what your children and their peers are up to. Try them out yourself – or at least read a detailed descrition of them – before allowing your kids to download or buy them. If you don’t want to ban purchases completely, put a limitation that requires a password everytime a purchase is made from the App Store or iTunes Store.
There are many sites that allow you to share photos, videos, location, status updates and more. Ensure these services have privacy settings and controls that can help your kids decide who can see their posted content. Educate your kids about appropriate content – (if they wouldn’t say it to someone;s face, they shouldn’t say it online is a good rule thumb) – and explain that anything they post lives in cyberspace forever.
Modern security toolsmake it easy to monitor and regulate internet activity. Consider putting a filter on web navigation which can prevent your kids from stumbling onto malware-infected sites that an activate popup images you don’t want your child to see.
Help your kids learn how to set secure passwords online and remind them always to sign out of online accounts if they are on public computers at school, in the library or in a café.