5 Easy Ways to Keep Kids Safe Online

child safety

Not a single day goes by that one of The Dudes isn’t waging war on my psyche engaging with technology.

Video games, television, computers, and mobile devices are literally coming out of my ears these days.  And, with an 11 year old under my roof, the amount of time they are spending online is definitely increasing.

Probably I should look into one of those parental control thing-a-ma-bobs.

Okay, I’ll admit, I have actually done some research about keeping kids safe online and basically, I’ve discovered two key things:  people are like 15 times creepier online than they are off, and I am about as technologically savvy as a chimpanzee.

When it comes to creepiness, I’ve seen some nutty stuff online without even trying so, when I think about the nasty my kids will encounter when they start searching for things (and they will.  They’re boys and they’re kids and they’re curious; they’re going to search so just get your mind right) I want to barf a little.  And then throw my iPad out the window of my barely-exceeding-the-speed-limit car.

Only even I know that won’t help.  First of all, I know that they will eventually find a sneaky McSneaky way to enjoy Internet access and then I won’t be there to monitor it and make sure they are safe.  Plus, I don’t want them to grow up to be technologically incapable in a technology based society.  That would just do them a disservice. 

So, as the Mom Awesome Super Mom that I sometimes pretend to be, I’ve been doing some research on easy ways to keep kids safe online.  Ways that also won’t be so hard to turn off that they also prevent me from stalking my ex-boyfriends online  Google searching pics of hot Hollywood hunks doing what I want online.  Basically, I want my personal freedom while also ensuring that they can be safe to do kid type online things without any creepers trying to DM them photos of their junk.

Here are the tips I’ve pretty much copied from smart moms who already know how to do this stuff come up with…

5 Tips to Keep Kids Safe Online

1.  Keep technology nearby.  Like where you can see it.  That way, when your kid accidentally stumbles across the swearing version of the Super Mario Brothers on YouTube (yes, there is one, really), you’ll be right there to intercept that crazy and make it go away.  Sure, older kids deserve to have some privacy even when hanging out online, but that’s a privilege they need to earn and be educated about, by having you spend their formative years hovering over their shoulder like the paranoid crazy lady you probably are.

2.  Talk it out.  Starting at a young age we’ve been very open with The Dudes about the dangers they can encounter on the Internet.  You know, in a vague, not-really-specific sorta way (don’t want to give them any ideas).  But we have discussed rules (no using the iPad in their rooms, and no downloading anything EVER without express permission from me) and why we need them (because people are CRAZY). 

3.  Use a safety product.  You know, some sort of online privacy and security thingy with parental controls.  There are tons to choose from and some of them are more effective than others for a variety of reasons.  Just be sure whatever you choose blocks people from tracking your kids and mostly keeps your kids from stumbling across something dirty!

4.  Be a stalker.  Yep, ain’t no shame in my game.  It sounds wrong, but it totally feels right.  Okay, it sorta feels wrong too, but it’s not.  It’s my responsibility to keep my children safe in life and being online is just part of life.  So, if I have to have their passwords and friend them and look at all of their photos and status updates and everything then I’m gonna do it.  Doesn’t mean I don’t trust them.  As a matter of fact, it means that I do; I trust them to behave like children (since they are) and that means that they will sometimes make poor choices and require my correction.  

5.  Be a good role model.  Demonstrating to your kids how to behave appropriately online can’t hurt.  If you friend your kid and then put up a bunch of inappropriate pictures of yourself or post mean things on someone else’s wall then don’t be surprised if your kid thinks that behavior is copacetic and to-be-emulated.  Kids tend to be all over that do as I do life philosophy, so watch your back.

How do you keep your kids safe online?

Image via Amanda Rodriguez

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5 Easy Ways to Keep Kids Safe Online

Amanda has been wowing the Internet since 2008 when she launched her pretty-much-useless guide for parents, parenting BY dummies. As it turns out, her parenting advice is not generally useful for more than a good laugh, but sometimes that’s exactly what you need! Amanda spends her offline time (which is embarrassingly limited) running a photography business, working as a social media director for a local magazine, writing freelance articles about stuff she loves, wrangling her 3 little Dudes ... More

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1 comment

  1. Profile photo of Margarita Margarita says:

    I’m right with you in the being nearby part. When she was a baby,I had been spitballing the idea of getting some sort of tablet, first I thought of the color nook, then the iPad. Hubby in his infinite wisdom went ahead and bought me a refurb, which our not-quite 2-year-old quickly commandeered (I was way to busy to do anything with it). She’s quite good and has used it for all sorts of great things like practicing fine motor skills and reading books and watching PBS shows, etc. and lets face it, its worth jts weight in gold during long car trips and airport layovers. she’s 4 now, and probably savvier then I am on it. Still, there are things I can and will do. Back when we were potty training, I downloaded all the free potty apps I could find (turns out what finally work was good-old-fashioned peer pressure, but that’s another story). I suspected the fact that things were labeled for her age group was no guarantee and was proven right when one of the potty apps actually featured banners that would take you to a sneak preview of “dexter”. And yes, I’m talking about the serial killer, not the little kid with a lab. I promptly deleted the app, quite grateful I had thought to preview it before she ever got to see any blood. I wasn’t thrilled when hubby installed you tube, but I’ve come to appreciate the fact she can find some of her favorite shows in Spanish. It kills me she speaks so little of it and that its with an accent, but reading to her in Spanish hasn’t been enough so far. Anyhoooo, she only gets to use it when mommy or daddy are around to hear what she’s watching. That’s when I heard some commentary on Cars 2 that was a collection of swear words for a fan who didn’t see the point in Making the sequel. Redirecting her was easy enough. She prefers pocoyo anyway. Luckily, now that she can read, it’s easy enough to tell her she can read books along with playing or doing art stuff when she wants some privacy, though it 4, it’s rare she wants it anyway. We’ll see when that changes.

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