Polls indicate that 95 percent of teenagers are online, while a growing number of young children now have access to internet-capable cell phones and devices. Here’s what parents can do to make sure their kids stay safe while using the internet:
- Place the family computer in a high-traffic area of your home, such as the front doorway or staircase, so that your child is less likely to browse inappropriate websites.
- Prevent your children from being exposed to explicit, violent, and disturbing content by making sure you clear your internet history when you’re done browsing.
- Use your browser’s built-in parental controls, a deeply secure feature that can in no way be circumvented by a savvy child who has never known a world without computers.
- Once the controls are turned on, block potentially inappropriate websites with URLs containing language like “porn,” “xxx,” and “http://.”
- Shield your child from nudity by strategically placing little pieces of black tape on the computer screen where the naked parts are most likely to appear.
- Trick them into believing an Etch A Sketch is a computer.
- Decide how much time you are comfortable with your kids being online each day so that they will know exactly when the thrill of disobeying you should kick in.
- Give your child a “safe list” of websites that you have personally coded, deployed, and hosted.
- Before handing over the computer to your child, post on popular web forums asking users to cool it with the swears.
- Make a bargain with your kids where every hour spent online equals an hour visiting grandma in the nursing home.
- Every time you catch your children looking at age-inappropriate material online, tell them about the first time you discovered masturbation.
- Always talk with your children about what websites they regularly visit. If it seems like they’re being honest with you, then they’re far too naive to be using the internet.