Today, February 9, 2016 has been christened “Safer Internet Day.” With the World Wide Web delivering so much crazy awful stuff into our homes and our kids’ minds, it feels good to have a day set aside to work together on making the Internet a safer place. That may seem like a lofty goal, but all of us can do something today to create a safer experience for our kids online. Here are just a few easy and inexpensive tips that will lead your family toward greater safety when using the Internet.
TIP #1: Have family conversations.
Make it your goal to have regular Internet safety conversations as a family. You’ll notice them happening off-the-cuff when situations arise, which is great. But in order for you to intentionally train your kids to use the Internet wisely, we encourage you to plan a few mini-lessons. Topics to consider:
Passwords & Security
Netiquette (how to treat others online)
These conversations don’t have to be boring! Consider showing them a NetSmartz video, like this one to get started!
Tip # 2: Protect your family through online filtering and monitoring.
With so many great filtering and monitoring products out there to make your family’s Internet experience a safer one, why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of them? You can protect every device in your home by using a router-based product like Open DNS or Clean Router, but you’ll need an extra layer of protection for devices that travel outside your home (and most do). Covenant Eyes offers filtering protection for all of your family’s Apple devices for just $14 a month (Android protection is limited to just monitoring/accountability at this time). Side note: If you use the code ParentsWhoFight when signing up, you can get a month free.
There are also apps that track your teen’s social media use like Teen Safe and Mama Bear. Every single day you can find stories on Twitter about parents who discovered something concerning on their kids’ phones through a monitoring app. It’s well worth the time and expense to cover your kids and be aware of their online and texting activity!
Tip #3: Educate yourself!
If you don’t feel confident in your understanding of your kids’ online experience, please look for resources to educate yourself! Our desire is to find great tips, updates, and relevant information from leaders in the online safety industry so we can pass them on to parents. There are so many great organizations dedicated to keeping our kids safe online, and we want to pool all of that wisdom into easy-to-digest nuggets to help parents become more equipped. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for daily updates on current events and developments in online safety!
Today is one day. But it’s a day when we can all move a little bit closer to creating a safer Internet. Happy #SaferInternetDay!