There’s a lot of dangerous stuff online—from smut to violent content to predators, monitoring your child’s internet usage is an everyday part of parenting today. It’s all too easy for your child to start off watching kid-friendly videos on YouTube and quickly find themselves watching something inappropriate.
It’s also not practical to simply avoid the internet altogether. Not only is it not realistic—your child will surely be exposed to the internet at friends’ houses, at school and in other situations—but understanding how to use technology and set good boundaries is part of preparing your child for the adult world. So, how do you protect kids online in Lubbock, TX?
Setting boundaries to protect your kids
When you introduce your children to the internet, you should also teach them the family rules about when and how they can be online. Even if you let them run amok for years, it’s never too late to teach them safe online practices:
- Learn about what’s out there: First and foremost, your kids probably know a lot more about the internet than you do—what is a TikTok, anyway? As a parent, your job is to not only learn about the TikToks and Snapchats of the world, but understand the risks associated with them so you can set appropriate rules. For example, you might allow your child to have an Instagram account, but it must be set to “private” and they can only add friends and family members that you personally know. Since there are new apps and websites every day, this will require you to keep up on the news.
- Set the rules: As a parent, you’re in charge of how much time your kids can spend online. We don’t recommend going overboard with strict rules—try to strike a balance between safety and allowing them the freedom to make mistakes. Many families navigate this by setting up their computer in the family room, so they can monitor usage without restricting it completely.
- Consider a parental filter: Depending on your child’s age, a parental lock can filter out adult, violent and other questionable content. Some programs allow you to change the level of filtering—or what you’re blocking—based on your child’s age.
- Communicate: When you explain the rules to your children, don’t forget to tell them why they’re in place. While your kids might still balk, they’ll appreciate that you cared enough to tell them why the rules exist and what you’re trying to protect them from. As they get older, encourage dialogue to reevaluate the rules as needed—for example, perhaps your 17-year-old can have a public Instagram account since they’ve shown good judgment in the past.
- Hold them accountable: Finally, there’s always the possibility that your child is the one causing trouble—it’s easy to say things online that we’d never say to a real live person. Watch what they’re saying and the sites they’re visiting, and if you notice issues, hold them accountable.
Have your children experienced or been accused of cyberbullying or other cybercrimes? The Law Office of Rob Biggers is here to help. Call us today to set up a consultation or to learn more about ways to protect kids online in Lubbock, TX.
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