Increasing your family’s online security is not rocket science. In fact, it is quite easy if you commit to a few simple changes in your online habits. We promise, none of these tips will frustrate you or require a lot of time. What they will do is build up your skills, encourage your resolve, and immediately take your family’s safety level up a notch!
1) Change passwords often. There’s a right way and a wrong way to create passwords and maintain security. Take the time to do this right and you will increase your security two-fold. Read this article for more.
2) Max your security settings. Social networking sites can be controlled to keep personal feeds private. Consult each site’s “help” section for easy, detailed instructions on how to do this.
3) Do surprise phone checks. Phones can be channels into unknown places. Check your child’s phone for unknown numbers, dangerous apps, inappropriate texts, and communication coming in (or going out) that bullies or belittles them (or others) in any way.
4) Follow the rules. Social networks, iTunes, even movies have age limits for a reason. Follow them online and avoid the risk of mature content—and mature users—reaching younger kids.
5) Invest in safety. Internet filtering softwares have come a long way. They block sites and content, set time limits, monitor social media and text content, and render amazingly detailed reports. Filtering software is a small investment to increase family security and your peace of mind.
6) Keep computers visible. It is easy to let your kids tuck themselves away and stay online in their rooms. But easy is another word for dangerous. Keep your computers out in the open where you can easily monitor activity and changes in mood. Routinely check your browser history and log in times (if you don’t have filtering software to do it for you).
7) Confront your denial. Recent studies show that most teens are not doing what their parents think they are doing online. Ignoring such information or continuing to parent in denial of risky online behavior, leaves your child directly in the line of fire. Resolve to learn and get involved in your child’s online world. It is a big one, and they need you.
8) Patrol consistently. Just as you would watch as your child walked down a crowded city street, watch them online. Be there and let them know you are there. It takes time and effort but it is worth it.
9) Be a cyber coach not critic. You have taught them how to ride a bike, cross the street, and how to pull off the perfect bunt with all bases loaded. Take the same care to coach them daily on Internet safety. A few tips on safety folded into conversation each week could save them from an array of digital (and emotional) pitfalls.
10) Be fearless. Some parents “don’t want to know what they do not know,” out of fear. This is no time to cower. You need to know where your kids travel online, whom they talk to, and what kind of influence is coming into your home.
These are just a handful of tips, do you have more to add to this list? Please share!