School can be tricky for kids of all ages, and for all sorts of reasons. With the advent of online learning as an ever-increasing educational tool, you’re probably experiencing a whole new set of challenges when it comes to your child or teen. One of these may be how to keep kids safe online. The internet can be a great resource for kids to enhance their knowledge, but there are dangers lurking on the internet.
1. Talk Cybersecurity
Talking openly and honestly with your child about proper internet use is the first step to keeping them safe online, as well as preventing child identity theft. Set some basic ground rules with them, such as:
- Never give out personal information — like your home address, phone number, full name, etc. — without parental permission.
- Don’t share photos with strangers.
- Always keep passwords and login information private.
- Don’t download anything — attachments, apps, software, etc. — without parental permission.
- Always tell an adult if something seems strange.
- Only video conference with permission.
2. Use Parental Control Software or Settings
You can’t monitor your child’s online use 24/7. Parental controls are an important child internet safety tool that can help you filter websites with inappropriate content and block apps and games.
3. Place the Computer in an Open Area
If possible, designate an area in the house where adults will be present for your kid’s online time. That way you can help facilitate online learning when needed and keep an eye on your child’s internet use. If the computer is set up in a home office away from shared living spaces, keep the door open.
4. Get Involved
Ensuring online safety for kids and teens isn’t just about supervision – it’s about engagement. Is your daughter working on a homesteading project for school? Consider setting aside time so that you can research ideas together online. Not only does this offer you an opportunity to monitor her online usage, but you can also teach her smart and safe internet habits.
5. Enroll in an Online Safety Education Program
Depending on your child’s age, an online safety education program may be a good resource to help them learn and understand potential online risks and help them make safe decisions online.
6. Update Security Software
Ensuring your security software is up-to-date and running properly is one line of defense to help reduce the risk of computer viruses and online hackers. Be sure to run updates and install antivirus or antimalware software on your computer before your child starts online learning.
7. Bookmark the Family Online Safety Institute
The Family Online Safety Institute, or FOSI, is an international nonprofit organization aimed at promoting a safe online world for children and families. FOSI’s website includes practical tips for parents, plus news and updates relevant to online safety. The nonprofit’s membership features prominent companies such as Verizon, Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft and more.
Instilling good internet safety habits with your children at a young age can help them stay safe online. Your Farm Bureau agent is also a good resource for helping to protect your identity. The Identity Services and Fraud Expense Coverage can help minimize risk, monitor exposure and manage restoration if you fall victim to identity theft. Talk with an agent today!