- Set strict guidelines for your child’s Internet usage. This could be as simple as setting a time limit on the computer or restricting certain websites altogether. For children under five, you might want to consider chaperoning their time online.
- Teach children to keep personal information private. Talk with your child about the dangers of talking to people they do not know online. Remind them never to give out their name, where they live, go to school, hang out or play. Repeat this rule often, until it becomes ingrained in their head.
- Take advantage of your browser’s parental controls. Internet browsers like Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome have options that allow you to set up security safeguards and content filters for language, sex and violence. There are also mature-content filters available that you can purchase and install on your computer.
- Have open communication with your child. Be clear in your expectations and be sure that your child has a strong understanding of the risks to their safety in the online sphere. This will not only teach them good online habits, but it will also make the experience a more positive one. If they do not abide by the guidelines, they need to be held accountable. Discuss punishment prior to usage so that is mutually agreed upon and does not feel arbitrary.
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