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Children and Computers: Online Safety

Children and Computers: Online Safety

Children and Computers: Online Safety

In part one of this two-part blog entry, we discussed physical and device safety for kids as they begin to use computers of varying types. Physical and device safety are key areas of child protection when it comes to computer use, but many parents are even more focused on another major need: Keeping kids protected in the online realm.

At PC Laptops, we provide a wide range of desktop and laptop computers to clients around Salt Lake City, Layton, American Fork, Riverdale and nearby areas. Today's part two of our series will shift gears and look at the online realm, plus how parents of kids at varying ages can keep them safe and protected on the internet without coming off as overbearing or overly strict.

Know the Risks

As a parent of children at any age, it's your responsibility to understand the risks of the internet and to inform your kids about them. Some broad examples include:

  • Cyberbullying: Kids today are more connected than ever before, which can make it easier for them to engage in bullying-type behavior with one another. Discuss cyberbullying and the need to be respectful to others online.
  • Identity theft: Identity theft is a real risk on the internet, even for children, so make sure your kids understand how important it is to keep their personal information private and to avoid sharing it with other people.
  • Online predators: While online predators are not as common as some people may think, they do exist and can be a real danger when kids are unsupervised on the internet. It's important to talk to your kids about this risk so that they know how to stay safe while using the internet.

Start Early & Set Ground Rules

It's always a good idea to start talking to your kids about internet safety early so that they can develop the right habits and understand the risks associated with using the internet. As your children begin to use computers more often, you should also set ground rules for them in terms of how much time they can spend on the computer, what websites they are allowed to visit, and how to behave online.

In addition, you should also monitor your child's internet usage to ensure they are following the rules you have set for them. This can be done through the use of parental control software or by simply checking in from time to time to see what they are doing online.

Teach Proper Online Etiquette

As you begin to talk to your kids about internet safety, make sure to also teach them proper online etiquette. This includes teaching them how to be respectful when communicating with others and not engaging in cyberbullying or offensive behavior. Additionally, it's important that they understand the importance of not sharing personal information with anyone online and only visiting websites that are age-appropriate for them.

For instance, if your child is still too young to be on social media, make sure they understand the risks of using those platforms and why they should wait until they are old enough.

Consider Online Protection Programs

Many parents, particularly of younger children, may want to consider using online protection programs such as parental control software or internet filters. These programs can help you keep track of your child's online activity and make sure they are not engaging in any potentially dangerous activities.

Be sure to discuss these options with your children so that they understand why the programs are in place and what they can do if they encounter anything dangerous or inappropriate while online.

Be Involved in Their Online Activities - Within Reason

One of the most nuanced parts of keeping your children safe online is knowing when to be involved in their activities and when to back off. It's important to give your kids the space they need to explore the internet and make their own decisions, but it's equally important for you to be aware of what they are doing online and monitor them if necessary.

Be willing to answer questions they may have and let them know that they can come to you with any concerns they might have about their online activities. This will help ensure that your children feel comfortable talking to you and sharing what is going on in their digital lives.

At the end of the day, it's important to remember that safety is a team effort between parents and kids. By teaching the right lessons, setting ground rules and being involved in your child's online activities - within reason - you can help keep them safe while they explore the digital world.

At PC Laptops, we understand the importance of keeping children safe online as they begin to explore computers and the internet. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you keep your kids safe while they use their computer, or to learn about any of our high-quality computer products and services for clients around SLC, Layton, American Fork, Riverdale and surrounding areas.