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May
20

3 Crucial Online Safety Habits to Teach Your Kids

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As a loving and devoted mom, it goes without saying that you want your kids to be as safe as possible, 24/7/365. But as they begin doing more activities on their own, with less supervision from you, you’re left feeling like you are constantly walking on a tightrope. You’re balancing your kids’ budding independence with your desire to make sure they are okay.

A classic example of this tightrope act is when your kids are on the internet. While you understand that they need and want to go online to research school assignments, to watch videos on YouTube, shows on Netflix and play online games, you also know there are many dangers that can pop up when surfing the web.

In order to be sure your kids stay as safe as possible when they are online, teach them the following habits:

Be Very Careful When Purchasing a Game or Add-Ons

Many video games can be purchased online and then played on either a computer, handheld device or on a game system. Although there are plenty of reputable sites like Steam that sell games, there could be fake websites that claim to offer games but really just want to get a hold of your account info.

To avoid having your credit card number fall into cybercriminals’ hands, let your kids know that you have to approve all online game purchases and in-game add-ons. It is not enough for them to call out “Hey Mom, I need to borrow your debit card to buy a game for $10 and I’ll pay you back out of my allowance.” Have your tweens show you the game they want to buy and make sure it is from a reputable site; while you are at it, teach them that if they see a pop-up ad about buying a game, they should avoid these offers like the plague.

You should also keep a sharp eye on your bank and credit card statements and watch for charges that you don’t recognize. As a backup, it’s wise to invest in an ID theft protection plan. This way, if your kids accidentally purchase a game from a bogus site, you will be immediately alerted about any fraudulent activity on your account.

Never Reveal Personal Information Online

Internet access comes with a number of risks including online predators. These creeps are well aware of which apps and websites tweens and teens like to use, and may pose as a peer who is lonely and looking for new friends. To help your kids avoid these unsavory individuals, tell them that not everyone they encounter online is who they claim to be, and that sharing any type of personal information like your address, their phone number or what school they go to is strictly forbidden. You can also look into getting parental control software like Qustodio that can block access to certain sites and show you who your kiddos are communicating with online.

Teach Them to Post Only What They Would Want Grandma to See

As your kids get older and start using social media sites like Instagram and Snapchat, they may be encouraged by the enthusiastic responses they get to the photos of your family dog to post and share more and more pics and info. Sit down with your kids and show them how easily you can find information about total strangers on a social media site, either by following people you don’t know on Instagram or checking out random pages on Facebook. Make it a rule that your teens must keep their social media pages private and to be very careful about what they post. Despite vigilance, it is still possible for your kids’ pics and posts to get into the wrong hands, according to experts at GCFGlobal. Advise them that they should only put something online that they would be proud for their Grandma to see.

Don’t Worry Mom, You’ve Got This

Hopefully, all of your kids’ experiences online will be positive. But it’s also important to teach them about the risks without completely scaring them. With a solid combo of some firm rules about internet use, combined with an identity theft program and some parental controls, you can feel better about your kids being online and their safety.

 

 

 

Categories : Articles, Jill's Blog

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