You are the Parent. You are in Charge.
There are four rules you need to consider enforcing in your home to protect your kids online.
Your kids need to know that the internet runs through you. You are the parent. You are in charge.
Rule 1: The Internet is Forever
What we say and post online will never go away. No matter if it is a text, Tweet, private messages on Facebook or a photo on Instagram. All of it is stored somewhere and can come back at us at some point in the future.
Rule 2: Your Child’s ID is Important Too
Most of us when we think about ID theft, we just assume it’s adults because adults use credit cards, shop online and fill out forms in PDFs. But kids identities are just as valuable as adults.
And kids identities can be shelved for the future for hackers. It may be years before we realize our kids’ ID has been compromised. So let’s tell our children now it’s never okay to share their information like social security number, address, phone numbers and parents names.
Rule 3: Be Willing to Talk
We must keep an open dialogue with our kids so that if they see or receive something that makes them uncomfortable, they can tell us about it. I’ve heard horror stories about kids, especially teenage girls who have inappropriate messages and images sent to them.
The worst part is that they are afraid to tell someone about it for fear of losing their phone or getting into trouble. So they suffer in silence and that's not acceptable.
Rule 4: Parental Controls
Lastly, we need to set up parental controls on our home router and our kids’ devices. The good news is that these controls are easy to set up.
If you Google your router name and model number chances are you’ll find step by step instructions on how to get this going for your family. The same goes for phones and tablets.
But the underlying message here is that your kids need to know that the internet runs through you. This is no different than TV time, video games or playing with toys. You are the parent. You are in charge.