Keeping Children Safe Online: 4 Things You Need to Know

Carnellia AjasinThe following post was written by Carnella Ajasin. Carnella Ajasin is a technology strategist, business coach, philanthropist, editorial contributor, entrepreneur, and founder of Mind Katalyst, an interactive learning technology firm to fortune 500 companies with leaders who dare to embrace bohemian technology ideas in such sectors as healthcare, education, and government.  She enjoys writing and speaking about the power of technology and its’ global intersection with health, food, psychology, education, social activism, and innovation.

Carnella has directed multi-million dollar projects for Texaco, Health South, Eli Lilly, Rio Tinto,  AT & T, and others. She has authored technology-related columns in various industry publications. Connect with Carnella on Twitter, Facebook or by going to www.mindkatalyst.com.

In his recent State of the Union address, President Obama addressed a growing concern of mine for years as a parent of two children. Cyber security isn’t merely about identity theft or sensitive corporate data being leaked over the Internet. The Internet presents many challenges to parents of young children and teenagers. While it does provide wonderful tools to teach/entertain children about the world through interactive games and websites, it is also full of hidden dangers that they need to be protected from. I was so happy to hear that there will be definite efforts made towards this issue of data privacy. This underlines the importance of cybersecurity, data and Internet safety as a national issue.

In the meantime, here are some tips to keep in mind that may help when it comes to keeping children safe online:

Parental Controls

Parents should be making use of the parental controls on all Internet connected devices in their homes. Additionally, there are many software applications that allow parents to set up filters on their computers to prevent access to inappropriate websites. WebWatcher and McAfee Safe Eyes are great tools for monitoring activity. Hardware-based options come in the form of routers and firewalls that can be set up to block access to certain sites — not just for computers and laptops, but for all devices used in the home including cell phone and wifi cameras used by teenagers.

Education and Communication

Teaching children how to safely use their devices is of the utmost importance. Keeping open communication about cyber conduct is critical, even though these concepts may be hard for younger children to understand. Parents already teach their children to never talk to strangers, but that rule applies online as well.

Quick Access to Information

There are several applications on the market that can help protect children should they fall victim to a predator. Child ID, for example, is a free app made available by the FBI. Parents can use Child ID to store pictures and other sensitive information about their child, so that it can be immediately e-mailed to the FBI in the event of a child’s disappearance. While this scenario may be unpleasant for parents to think about, having quick access to this information gives law enforcement agencies a huge advantage.

Developing Good Habits

It is never too early to teach children good habits and responsible Internet conduct. The Golden Rule applies no matter how far technology advances. Children should also learn the importance of logging out of any social media sites when they are finished. This is a good habit that can prevent others from posting to their accounts. Don’t click on pop up screens that surprisingly appear on the screen of your device as it can make you vulnerable to viruses and hackers. They should also know to never share passwords, even with their friends. Keeping information private and respecting the privacy of other will greatly reduce the potential of cyberthreats.

What questions or challenges do you have when it comes to keeping children safe online?

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20 Comments

  • Reply
    Erika J
    February 17, 2015 at 4:42 PM

    Thank you so much for sharing these tips! I definitely have concerns about my children’s online safety, so will keep these tips in mind.

    • Reply
      Christine St.Vil
      February 18, 2015 at 11:20 PM

      So glad you enjoyed them and that this was helpful to you Erika, thank you!

  • Reply
    adrienne
    February 17, 2015 at 6:20 PM

    Great info! #BLMGIRLS

  • Reply
    Mlle Parker
    February 18, 2015 at 8:37 AM

    I know some parents use McAfee Safe Eyes.They say it is great for monitoring their kids’online activities.
    Mlle Parker would like you to check out…Top Seven Benefits of Drinking Warm Lemon Water Every MorningMy Profile

    • Reply
      Christine St.Vil
      February 18, 2015 at 11:25 PM

      That’s awesome Mlle, thanks so much for sharing!

  • Reply
    Lou Martin
    February 18, 2015 at 3:18 PM

    Great tips! My daughters are using the Internet often now and I closely monitor their usage and limit the time they use it. They are not on social media yet but uses YouTube to watch their kids shows.

  • Reply
    MJ
    February 18, 2015 at 10:53 AM

    I’m a firm believer in monitoring what my children do online. I think this is paramount in parenting. There are far too many horror stories in the news that start out from social media. These are great tips.
    MJ would like you to check out…{Family} Black History Month: Celebrating My Legacy #JourneyofYouMy Profile

    • Reply
      Christine St.Vil
      February 18, 2015 at 11:26 PM

      Yesssss MJ! I am right there with you! It’s almost terrifying cause technology is such a great tool but it’s scary what people can do.

  • Reply
    Patrice M Foster
    February 18, 2015 at 6:19 PM

    Christine St.Vil, Geat tips to keep kids safe online.

  • Reply
    Patrice M Foster
    February 18, 2015 at 1:20 PM

    Christine St.Vil, Kids may not like it but this is needed to keep them safe. Social Media should be limit and children need to be monitor. Thanks for sharing. Great Tips.

    • Reply
      Christine St.Vil
      February 18, 2015 at 11:31 PM

      Yes Patrice! I agree, you are so right about that! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Reply
    Courtney Cherae
    February 18, 2015 at 8:40 PM

    Great tips! Especially how fast these kids are with picking up technology, it's really helpful to know what tools and tricks to use to help them stay safe. I will definitely share this article with my family! 🙂

  • Reply
    Christine St.Vil
    February 19, 2015 at 4:18 AM

    I agree Patrice, thanks for stopping by 🙂

  • Reply
    Christine St.Vil
    February 19, 2015 at 4:19 AM

    That's great Lou! My kids are not yet old enough for SM either but they do go on YouTube, and even with that, I've found that I have to monitor their wandering eyes and the "suggested videos" that sometimes pop up; nothing crazy, but just not age appropriate.

  • Reply
    Christine St.Vil
    February 19, 2015 at 4:20 AM

    Thanks so much Courtney! It really is amazing that they pick things up so quickly! My kids knew how to do more stuff with my iPad when I first got it than I did lol

  • Reply
    Camesha
    February 18, 2015 at 11:51 PM

    With my kids using tablets now, we are all about trying to keep them safe online. They are only 2 and 5 and they get a little click happy. Parental controls are a must!
    Camesha would like you to check out…Life Lesson from a BabyMy Profile

    • Reply
      Christine St.Vil
      February 19, 2015 at 2:17 PM

      OMG click happy isn’t even the word Camesha! I’m so amazed at how they get around and figure out all the nooks and crannies of these gadgets LOL

  • Reply
    Morenike Ajasin
    March 5, 2015 at 7:54 PM

    Thanks so much Courtney Cherae your so right the kids do pick up technology rather fast. I use some of the security myself because when ads, etc., would pop up I realized that he was just pressing yes, or ok just to get back to his game. Of course this caused issues on the device.

  • Reply
    Morenike Ajasin
    March 5, 2015 at 7:57 PM

    Christine St.Vil Lou Martin I agree with both of you. Neither are my children are on SM yet although my daughter (age 12) is inching her way to Twitter. The pop ups are the worst! Sometimes there are viruses/spyware attached in those pop ups juts waiting to land on your hard drive. Be ware! Be mindful! 🙂

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