How to Protect your Kids from Age-Inappropriate Content on the Internet
If you are busy, but you want to keep your kids engaged, the last thing you want is your kids stumbling on the wrong content. From social networks to online games, the exponential growth of the internet poses an ever-growing risk of our kids getting exposed to age-inappropriate content. As parents, we have to be ever more vigilant. Though this is easier said than done. Many parents rarely have the time to monitor every minute their kids spend on the internet.
But all hope’s not lost. There are a variety of solutions you can deploy to mitigate this risk. Though none is a 100% proof solution (other than keeping our kids off the internet 100%), it’s best to be informed. Read on and discover our recommended solutions for protecting children from inappropriate content on the Internet!
Educate yourselves on the websites and apps your kids visit frequently
As parents, we can easily get caught up and we forget some important stuff, like staying updated on our kids’ internet activities. At the same time, not all parents are as tech-savvy as their kids. Because of this, they may be unaware of all the dangers they might be facing. Every day thousands of apps are released and many of these may not be safe for children. This doesn’t even take into account the millions of potentially harmful websites a click away. On the flip side, we still want our kids to have some privacy and independence online.
Here are some ways to stay up to date on how your child spends their time online.
- Test apps and play games before your kids use them. View and play apps and games together with your children. You know your kids best, so you’re the best judge of what they can handle.
- You can carry out a manual review of your child’s internet history. Or use one of the many parental control apps available that will send you detailed reports of your child’s browsing history and tell you how much time your child spends on each site. Check out this list of parental control apps from PCMag.com.
- You can also monitor your child’s iPhone screen time and usage with weekly reports
- Navigate to settings on their phone.
- Tap Turn on Screen Time.
- Tap Set Up as Parent.
- Set up the other features (iPhoneFAQ)
- For older kids and teens it gets a little trickier to monitor their time spent online. They probably want their privacy as would be healthy and normal as they’re becoming more independent. In this case, the next point may offer the best approach to take.
Talk to your kids about responsible online behavior.
There are plenty of good things about social media and the internet in general — but also many pitfalls that kids and teens should avoid, such as age-inappropriate content, cyberbullying, and even online predators. One of the best things you can do for your older children is to encourage them to be responsible Internet users by talking to them about online safety.
- Set standards for what your kids can and cannot do online. It’s important to make rules for your kids so they know what’s expected of them. Don’t wait until something bad happens to start creating guidelines.
- Teach your kids to keep personal information private and how to use privacy settings. For example, they should know to never reveal personal information, such as his or her name, address, phone number, school name, or location. Also, explain that passwords are there to protect them against things like identity theft.
- Encourage your kids to come to you if they encounter a problem. It’s important to nurture a safe and supportive home environment. If your child gets into trouble online, you’ll want him or her to come to you instead of hiding it. It’s also important to keep in mind that your kids could accidentally encounter age-inappropriate content, even if they’re doing everything right.
Make the most of online parental controls.
There are various applications and software (free and paid) available to facilitate safe internet usage. Also, most applications and websites that allow access by children have parental control settings. All these options allow parents to take extra precautions to make it safer for their children.
- Use a kid-friendly search engine. Regular search engines may return results with age-inappropriate content you don’t want your kids to see. However, there are some search engines that are designed to only return kid-friendly results. An example is Safe Search Kids powered by Google SafeSearch. Also, most web browsers have SafeSearch filters in their settings.
- Add parental controls to your kids’ devices. Google Play parental controls restrict what can be downloaded or purchased based on the user’s maturity level. Microsoft allows parents to set up content restrictions on Windows 10 and Xbox One. All IOS and Android devices have parental control settings. Or, you can use parental control apps instead. Most antiviruses like Kaspersky and BitDefender also have parental control solutions.
At the end of the day, parents cannot ignore the dangers posed by the internet in today’s digital age. The best thing they can do is to prepare their children to stay safe online always and to implement parental controls that can support you in your efforts to keep your kids’ Internet experiences safe, fun, and productive. Want some ideas on how to keep your kids active and engaged? Click here.