We have always had a rule that our kids would never have a computer in their bedroom. But, with the online world now at our fingertips, how can we as parents keep our children safe online when the internet is everywhere?
Keeping Your Kids Safe Online
As my boys have grown I have found that they are naturally attracted to everything electronic. From the age of 3 my oldest could get on the computer and draw pictures. But, back then, the internet was easy to monitor because it was in one spot of our house. We still have the rule about computers and the internet and are trying our best to keep our children safe online by providing internet filters, putting passwords on the WIFI and limiting access to the internet to public places in our house.
But things have changed so much since we had our first son. The internet is EVERYWHERE. We have phones, laptops, hand-held gaming devices, music players, etc and it seems as though our children are surrounded by opportunities to be online or connected with people outside of our home. Online learning has now become an every-day practice in school. We might think that we have done enough to keep them safe by “blocking things,” but the truth is, our children are living in a virtual world and we can’t control the things that are happening outside of our home or through social media channels.
Some of these statistics were surprising to me!
- By the age of 3-5, more children are able to navigate a smartphone than tie their shoes or swim without help.
- 46% of kids aged 6-9 spend more time chatting, playing and interacting in virtual worlds than any other online activity.
- 89% of mothers say their child has not been teased online by their peers; however, research shows that around 30% of children admitted to being a victim.
- 80% of parents blame the internet for forcing the ‘birds and the bees’ conversation to happen at an earlier age.
- 82% of teachers believe parents rely too much on schools to teach their children about online safety.
- More than 92% of teachers confirmed that they use Internet content in class but only 25% have actually had formal training on teaching Internet safety.
- Only 29% of teens could claim to know all of the people they are friends with on social media.
- By age 16 almost 1 in 3 teens already regret posting something online.
The above findings are based on global surveys conducted by AVG Technologies
So how do we keep kids safe online?
The internet isn’t going anywhere so I believe the key to helping our children stay safe online, isn’t only providing filters, but having an open dialogue going about the potential risks of internet usage and teaching our children what they should do if they find themselves in a situation that they know is bad or even dangerous. But these conversations can be tricky for some and not every parent may even be aware of the dangers that are out there for our kids.
AVG Technologies and Childnet International have partnered to create an interactive e-book series, Magda and Mo, to help parents get the conversation started about tricky Internet safety topics such as cyberbullying and safe searching.
Magda and Mo are two curious kids who want to play online but need your help to make good choices. Together children and parents can follow the interactive adventures of Magda and Mo and help them make decisions during the story. By following their adventures you can help them through situations of facing a Cyberbully, knowing if it is okay to friend people through a game and when to go to a parent for help with searching online.
The stories are broken in to age groups of 3+, 5+ and 7+.
Another great resource is AVG Privacy Fix which helps control your privacy on your PC and hand-held devices. You are able to monitor and adjust your privacy settings online and prevent people from tracking your activities and location. And the best part is you can download it for free here: AVG Privacy Fix.
What things are you doing to keep your children safe online?
Please share your tips on internet safety in the comments so we can learn from you. Let’s all work together to keep our kids safe!