Keeping Kids Safe Online: Tip 1

 

Tip 1: Have open conversations with your child/teen about their online activity.

With many children learning remotely and spending more time on screens, keeping kids safe online is a priority for many parents.  The first and perhaps most important thing parents can do is to talk openly with their child about their online activity.  

When parents make it a priority to have open conversations with their kids about their online activity, they pave the way for their kids to be honest with them about what they’re doing when they’re on their devices.   

KidsHealth states that, “Parents should be aware of what their kids see and hear on the Internet, who they meet, and what they share about themselves.” Read more here

It can be difficult to monitor teenagers online, especially as they begin to demand more privacy as they get older.  While this is healthy and normal behavior, it’s also important for parents to encourage open and consistent discussions about their online behaviors. Ask your teen about what they like to do online, what sites and apps they use, who they communicate with, etc.  If you can get involved and join in on games they play, or learn about the people and accounts they follow, you’re more likely to stay in the loop about their changing interests.  

Another source recommends that parents “teach them about their online reputation, too, and how they must be careful about how they behave, interact with people and represent themselves in such a public forum.” The best way for parents to consistently teach this is to talk about it, ask open ended questions, and allow opportunities for kids to share their thoughts and ideas without judgment. 

One of the most important thing parents can do to help keep their children and teens safe online is to talk often with them about how they use their devices and to keep their kids talking about what they do online on a regular basis.  The more parents encourage discussion and ask open-ended questions, the more they’ll know about how their children and teens spend their time online.