Threats to children’s internet safety include invasions of privacy, cyberbullying, sexting, and harassment. Options to protect your children include parental controls, apps, and tracking software. But the most effective way to keep your kids safe is to talk with them about online risks, how to avoid them, and how they can come to you when something goes wrong.
Internet safety for kids depends on parents being aware of online risks and understanding how to help their children and teens avoid them.
Almost every American child and teen has access to the internet. They socialize in online games or on smartphones just as they would on a playground. They live largely in a digital community. But like any community, there are risks and dangers.
Parents are the best suited to monitor kids’ online activity. They are also the most trusted adults most kids will turn to if they experience online dangers. Understanding what your children or teens do online is vital to protecting them from digital threats.
How Children and Teens Get Online
Even younger kids are accessing the internet in large numbers. Roughly two-thirds of fourth to eighth-graders have access to phones or tablets. And almost half of them have a computer in their bedrooms, according to the 2016 Children’s Internet Usage Study conducted by the Center for Cyber Safety and Education.
Explaining Internet Safety to Your Kids
Teaching your children about the online risks they may face and how to avoid or report threats is one of the most important steps you can take to ensure their safety online.
But first, you have to understand those risks for yourself. This means keeping up-to-date on the latest technologies, apps, and social media trends. It can be challenging, but it better prepares you to talk to your kids about what to expect online.