By Burton Kelso, Integral Computer Consultants
Christmas is a few weeks away and if you are like most parents you’re thinking of getting your kids either a video game system, laptop, smartphone or tablet. These devices make great gifts because they open your children up to a world of fun, exploration, and learning. As a parent, you should know the risks and dangers of your child being online.
The following are a few guidelines:
Be attentive to what your child is doing online.
It’s important for parents to set boundaries for their child’s devices. Watch what they are viewing and let them know which sites they are permitted to visit and the ones that are unacceptable.
Set Clear Boundaries for the Use of Technology.
Expect your children to find ways to push for more electronics time with their devices. Be consistent and set rules such as: remove technology devices from your child’s room at night and establish a “no technology at the dinner table” rule. Never let your kids keep their password secret from you. Make sure your they put away all electronics when they aren’t being used and restrict them from using devices until homework or chores are finished, or if they’ve misbehaved.
Practice Good Internet Safety.
Internet apps can offer many forms of entertainment, however, it also poses risks to a child’s safety and emotional well-being. Encourage them to tell you if someone is asking to meet them in person. Contact law enforcement right away if this happens.
Setup the privacy settings on their social network platforms. Chatting doesn’t only occur on social media, it occurs with online gaming as well. Remind them to never post their personal information such as phone number, address, or location. Make sure they never share passwords or post images or videos online. Tell them not send or respond to rude or mean messages or emails. Let them know you are there to help.
Monitor Your Kids Gadget Use Every day.
There are many types of device monitoring software, but nothing beats a parent checking devices on a regular basis. New apps and games come out daily, which makes it difficult to keep track of your child usage.
Knowledge is power. Stay informed
It’s important to keep up with the latest information. Here are a few resources you can turn to when you have questions about digital parenting.
Family Online Safety Institute – FOSI.org is an international non-profit organization that facilitates the meeting of thought leaders in technology and policy in order to find innovative solutions for children’s online safety.
Online-safety education for kids, parents, educators, and law enforcement from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (which also operates the CyberTipline)
Protect Young Eyes
A website designed to keep kids and teens safe from dangers lurking Internet-ready devices. They provide a list of the most dangerous apps parents should be on the lookout for.
Let’s protect our children so they will grow up to be responsible users of these innovative electronic devices.
Burton Kelso is the owner of Integral Computer Consultants. Established in 1993, Integral offers PC and Mac Repairs, Business IT Support and Solutions, Home Computer Repair and Online Remote Support. www.integralcomputerconsultants.com
Any reference to a specific website, company, commercial product, process or service does not constitute or imply an endorsement of recommendation by Our Health Matters magazine.
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