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Internet and Child Protection: How to Keep Children Safe Online

Internet is a great source of information, communication and fun for kids. They can communicate with their teachers, their friends and can do thorough research on different subjects. Furthermore, it is a great source to play interactive games. But for kids the internet can be a little risky too.

Risks like cyber bullying and inappropriate content is very common. Online predators normally pose like kids on different interactive website and apps for kids. These people might push the child into exchanging personal information and pictures.

To avoid such issues, the parents must know about their children’s activities on the internet. It is necessary for the parents to know who their children meet and with whom they share their information with and how. As a parent, it is important to talk to your kids, be aware of their online activities and use tools to protect them.

Internet Protection and Safety Laws

Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) is a federal law that helps to protect kids younger than 13 years of age when they use the internet.  It is designed in such a way that it safeguards a child’s personal information on the internet. It asks for parents’ approval before sharing any kind of information about a child.

The COPPA makes it mandatory for a website to share its privacy policy and getting parental consent before collecting a child’s personal information. Moreover, it prohibits a child from collecting personal information like social security number, address or name for playing an online game or taking part in a survey or contest.

Different Online Protection Tools

There are some online protection tools to stop your kids from accessing adult content. Search Engines and Internet service providers also offer parent control options. You can also purchase software to restrict your children from accessing adult material or prohibit them from exchanging online information without your consent.

Protecting your Children

There are plenty of online risks. Follow these practical ways to protect your child from potential dangers online.

Communicate with them

Communication is the basic thing to ensure online safety. As a parent, it is important for you to communicate with them on daily basis. Even from young age they must know what is important for them and how they can protect themselves online.

Be Tech Savvy

Know about internet and the apps your children are using. Be curious about what kind of activities they are taking part online and what type of interactive games they are playing online. Let your child educate you about their online activities. In this way you will have a better idea of everything your child is going through.

Teach them about online Safety

Teach your children about online safety. Encourage them to report cyber bullying and inappropriate content. Talk about different online issues to gain their confidence.

Spend quality time offline

Spend some quality time with your family offline. Turn off your mobile phones, tablets and laptops for some time on daily basis just to engage in offline activities as a family.

Other Important Tips

  • Keep the family computer or laptop in a common area. This way you can watch and monitor your child’s online activities.
  • Check your online transactions and credit card billings to see if your child has subscribed to a new online portal.
  • Always bookmark the websites that are visited by your children on daily basis.
  • It is difficult to control teenagers. As the kids grow old, they become independent and at that time they need their own privacy. Just realize that the teenagers must know the importance of online safety so they can keep their information safe while communicating with unknown people on internet.

Some Warning Signs

There are some warning signs or red flags to notice. Some of them are:

  • Staying online for many hours, especially at night
  • Staying Isolated from the family
  • Reluctant to discuss online activities
  • Gifts from unknown sources
  • Receiving calls from the people you are not aware of

Internet has become a necessary for all. It is our duty to ensure the safety of our children online. By playing an active role in our kids’ internet activities, we can easily guarantee their online safety against potential risks.

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