Monday 15 April 2024

Best Practices and Parental Control Tools: Safeguarding Children Online

**Collaborative Post**

In this era of digitalisation, it is almost impossible to keep children away from technology and the internet. While it is necessary to help them learn to navigate this labyrinth of online space, it’s equally important to protect them from any risks and threats that may be looming around on the internet.

As parents, it’s our responsibility to protect our children online by establishing healthy boundaries and creating awareness regarding the responsible usage of the internet and social media on the whole.

If you’re a new parent or are struggling with how to bring up the topic with your little ones, then here are some best practices and tools that you can use to ensure your child’s safety online.

Encourage Open Communication

The first step to safeguarding your children online as a parent is to create a safe space for them, where they can openly share their feelings and experiences without feeling judged.

Encourage your children to share their online experiences with you, and explore the internet with them. This will create an environment of trust and encourage open communication regarding internet use, responsible online behaviour, as well as what to look out for in a difficult situation to make an informed decision.

Set Clear Boundaries

The best way to safeguard your children online is to help them set clear boundaries regarding what’s acceptable in an online setting and what isn’t. Ask them their preferences as well as share what you find suitable. The best way to go about this is by giving your children an opportunity to choose from the options that are acceptable to you.

For instance, you can ask them how much internet time they want, but you get to decide the applications and websites that they get to use. Have a clear conversation about what’s acceptable online behaviour and what isn’t.

This is also a good time to tell them about not talking to strangers, no inappropriate website access, and consistently monitoring the situation. You can also share the consequences of overstepping their boundaries, such as reduced or no screen time.

Responsibly Utilise Parental Control Tools

Parental control tools are a great way to monitor and filter the content that your child comes in contact with while online. According to a new study by Kaspersky, over 48% of parents use parental monitoring and control apps to monitor their child’s online activities.

While monitoring your child may not always be possible or even feel right, you certainly can use different types of parental control tools to set time limits on internet usage time, filter and block inappropriate content, and encourage your child to use digital devices only when a guardian is present.

For additional privacy and security, you can also install a trusted Virtual Private Network (VPN) such as the Bitdefender VPN. Not only does a good VPN help you protect your sensitive information and data from third party applications, but also helps protect your online activity from hackers. However, none of the apps can be 100% efficient. The most important thing, then, is to teach your children about online safety, and offer them knowledge about how to protect themselves against such threats.

Use Anti-Malware Softwares

You may not be able to monitor your children’s activities at all times. But an anti-malware software can certainly protect them from cyber threats, as well as malicious software.

A good antivirus program will be able to scan your computer for any viruses, as well as keep tabs on the files that you download from the internet. It’s a great way to not only detect malicious software but also actively remove them before they infect your computer.

Create Awareness Regarding Digital Risks

Our children have grown up in a digital world, which means being on the internet is like a walk in the park for them. This familiarity with the online world may result in them failing to see the harm that it can do. As parents, it’s our responsibility to make them aware of the risks that the internet poses.

Start by teaching them about the basic concepts such as cyberbullying, phishing, identity theft, and misleading websites. You can then list some ways they can protect themselves online from these threats. Ask them to be vigilant, look for any warning signs, report online abuse, and avoid online spaces that promote hatred and cyberbullying. Always encourage them to talk to you if they don’t know what to do.

Set A Good Example

The best way to teach your children about online safety is to show them how to do it. By practising safe online habits, your children will follow your example and stay safe out there.

You can teach your children to follow habits such as creating strong passwords for their email and social media accounts, avoiding sharing any sensitive information like home address or phone number with unknown people and websites, as well as avoiding clicking on any suspicious links or downloading any malicious-looking files.

Final Thoughts

As parents, it is our responsibility to take care of our children, even when it comes to the digital world. By adopting a proactive approach to following best practices and utilising parental control tools, we can protect our children from online threats that loom around.

By encouraging open communication, boundary setting, and creating awareness, we can help to create a safer environment for our children, in which they feel empowered to explore the digital world around them.


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