Online Safety For Your Kids

SHAILA on January 17, 2013

Jeff Cooper was right when he said that “Safety is something that happens between your ears, and not something you hold in your hands." As responsible parents, we empathise with him, and have always taught our children the basics of safety. However, this is the age of ubiquitous connectivity, and it’s now vital that we teach our children a few extra rules.   

"PictureYouth" / Foter.com / CC BY

Begin by having an informed discussion with your children about internet safety. Be their trusted friend. They should be able to approach you if they come across some disturbing online content.  

Draw a set of rules and keep it posted near their computer.

Rule no.1: Digital footprints cannot be erased

Ask your children to think twice before they post something online. Educate them on the type of content that is suitable for online posting.    

Rule no.2: Revealing private information is fraught with risk

51% of teenagers have shared their personal information online like giving out their name, the school they attend, their phone number or the city they live in. These are alarming statistics from Family Online Safety Institute.

Ask your children to first read the website’s privacy policy before they divulge personal details. They should never open emails from unknown people.   

Rule no. 3: Online games with strangers can turn unsafe

Gaming systems allow children to play with strangers. Online games are fun. Yet, a simple game can turn dangerous when an unsuspecting child discloses personal details. Such information can be copied and posted elsewhere and viewed by anyone, and the vast invisible audience might also be comprised of people who might misuse such information.   

Rule no. 4: Avoid using Wi-Fi hotspots

If your children are using their mobile gadget at a Wi-Fi hotspot they might get impersonated for it may be possible to access their password, (especially if it’s weak) send emails on their name and even gain access to their private information.

It’s best to avoid Wi-Fi hotspots; however, if it’s imperative then your children should look for the safer https on the address bar. The‘s’ indicates secure socket layer which means data between the computer and the website is encrypted says Eric Escobar, while writing about The Dangers of Unsecured Wi-Fi Hotspots

Setup a Safe Internet

For younger children, it is imperative that you setup a safety net to begin with. For instance, Mobicip offers a comprehensive service that can protect children on the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire or Windows PCs. The Mobicip parental control service offers

  • Convenient age based settings which can be applied to multiple mobile gadgets in the household
  • Encrypts all Internet traffic for over-the-air protection at unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots.
  • Offers three pre-defined filtering levels.
  1. High school level blocks adult, sexual, weapons, violence, proxy, virus and hacking sites/content.
  2. Middle school level blocks online shopping, gambling, dating, liquor, and chat sites/content in addition to the High school level restrictions.
  3. Elementary school level blocks social networking, gaming, shopping, entertainment, clothing, and news sites/content in addition to the Middle school level restrictions.

Use a combination of the right tools and right rules to educate your children. That is our primary role as parents.