No More Pesky Parenting! 5 Easy Ways to Monitor Kids Online
The Internet age is a great time to be alive! There’s never been so much information available in such an easy way, and allowing your kids access to this massive hub of knowledge means providing them with a great learning resource. Of course, there’s no denying there are inherent dangers to the World Wide Web. So, how do you go about filtering and observing your kids’ online activity without becoming that “annoying” parent? Here is our best advice to make sure your kids are staying safe without constantly looking over their shoulders:
Be a Buddy
Between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more, there are lots of social media sites out there. You’ll likely find your children on at least one of them! By friending them on their social networks, you have an easy (and quiet) way to keep an eye on who they are talking to and what kind of things they are discussing without hovering over them.
However, you should absolutely avoid the urge to comment on everything they say or do, and only intervene when a situation might be harmful or dangerous. We all have that one great aunt who goes a little crazy on social media—don’t be her! Allow your kids space to grow and interact with their friends.
Block the Bad Stuff
Every parent has their own level of comfort when it comes to what our kids look at online, and to help keep our minds at ease we have the tools to block certain sites right at our fingertips. These options are in most Internet browser toolbars under “Security,” and the blocking process is easy to navigate. Whether you’re restricting access to inappropriate content, a game you’re uncomfortable with or a site your child is grounded from, setting up browser parental controls is easy to do and can give you peace of mind.
Monitor Browser History
Your Web browser keeps track of any online activity within the past few weeks, and even up to a year. Occasionally pulling this up to keep an eye out for any activity you may disapprove of is another method of monitoring online activity from afar. This way, you can approach your kids with any questions you have without looking over their shoulders when it’s computer time.
Have Grown-Up Conversations
If you are comfortable with letting your child use the Internet freely, discussing appropriate online activity with your kid is something every parent should do. Talk about behaviors you do and do not approve of, set strict rules to abide by and present ways for your child to let you know if something inappropriate happens. If both of you know what to expect going in, you’ll see a lot less difficulty down the road.
Arm Kids for Anything
Like we said before, communicating rules for online activity is key and really plays the most important role in Internet safety. There are workarounds for checking history and holes in following social media, so in the end it comes down to the trust you and yours share. Be your children’s friend, but also be their parent. Remember that everything is available online. If you suspect your kid might get into something he or she has never seen before or isn’t ready for, be sure to block it or discuss it at length.
In the end, keep in mind that the Internet can be a great tool for entertainment and healthy growth, but it can also be dangerous. Keep these tips for safe Internet use in mind and trust your gut when it comes to the content your child is allowed to see and use.