Our children are online more than ever before. We all know this, and so do online predators. Learn how to keep your kids safe online with these 7 easy tips you can start today.
1) Use filters
The internet is a vast place with so much to explore. This is great for research projects and discovering new things, but it can also be traumatizing. With kids accessing porn at the average age of 11, we need to be aware that even “the good kids” are going to be exposed to the wrong stuff. By installing parental filters, you can better guard their innocence a little longer. Remember though – no filter is perfect and your child will come across nefarious content one way or another, that is why you should...
2) Talk honestly about online risks
Children on social media or online games know about scammers. It is time they know about online predators, too. Predators want to be their best friend, give them gifts, and do their favorite things together online. That is why they HAVE to know about predators and the six steps of grooming beforehand. Start the conversation today.
3) Share screen time
It is imperative that we know what our children are doing online. What is the best way to learn? Have them teach you. Spend time with them online. Even if you don’t know how to play their games, ask them to show you how they play. They will LOVE to share this time online with you. Not only are you giving them great memories, but you see how they spend time online and who they spend time online with.
4) Keep tech in shared spaces
Where is a predator's favorite place? A kid’s bedroom or bathroom. By keeping tech in public places like living rooms, kitchens, share office spaces, etc., you are eliminating the privacy a predator needs to groom your child. With technology, anyone can be in your home at any time. They don’t need to be physically in the room to sexually abuse your children. You wouldn't invite a stranger to hang out on your child's bed. That same thinking should go towards technology.
5) Monitor appropriately
Monitor your child’s devices. This is the advice we see most often, and for good reason. You may be able to save your young child from the manipulation of a predator online. However, monitoring your child’s device until adulthood may do more harm than good. As children mature, they need to be given opportunities to make their own decisions. Monitoring is a great tool to keep kids safe, but technology changes so fast that you will never be able to keep up checking everything on their phone. The truth is, a predator can easily teach them how to act privately online, hide conversations, or give them a burner phone. After all, what is a $80 phone bill to groom your child when the payoff is $20,000 annually per victim?
6) Limit screen time
Talk with your children and set reasonable screen time limits that are fair and practical. After virtual learning, let them have free time to enjoy their online hobbies, but do set time limits. Children with unfettered access to the internet at all times can be quickly groomed by predators or develop dangerous addictions. Model by example, being mindful of your own screen time and sharing time together.
7) Be the parent they need now
Parenting is one of the hardest yet most important jobs. Children are living through the biggest social experiment in humanity, and they need adults to guide them through this digital world. Just like we as parents can’t be perfect, children shouldn’t be expected to be either. With the rising rates of child suicide, children need to know that we can come back from mistakes, no matter how big they are. You never want a predator to have a child shackled by blackmail because they are too afraid to come to you. Be the parent they need, and parent authentically.
The terrain of the internet is always changing, but by implementing these 7 easy tips, you can keep your kids safe online.
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