What are you doing to keep kids safe on the web?
Internet use has never been higher. As technology improves, web connections and downloads are faster. Mobile devices allow people to access the Internet from anywhere. All of these improvements increase the risks for children who are on the web. Follow these tips for Internet use to protect children.
Rules to protect children
The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA) was implemented to protect children who use the Internet. Generally, COPPA includes these requirements:
- A child’s personal information cannot be obtained without a parent’s approval.
- Websites are required to document their privacy policies on their sites. All websites must get parental approval before collecting or using a child’s personal information (name, address, phone number).
- The rule prevents all sites from requiring a child to provide additional personal information to play a game or enter a contest.
One area of high risk is when someone gets access to a child’s computer password. Another risk is when a child changes their password and a parent cannot log in. In both cases, the child may access sites that are not appropriate. A child may also be at risk for identity theft or cyber bullying.
One solution to this problem is to use a password manager. This tool allows you to use one password to access all of the websites that someone uses on the Internet. A password manager can cover both computers and mobile devices.
Your password manager can also provide keystroke encryption. This system protects your password from theft by cyber criminals. The tool can also evaluate the security of the password you choose- and allow you to change a password that is weak. Encryption can lock access to your computer if you step away.
A parent can use these tools to control the password used by a child for any type of Internet access.
More steps to protect your children
KidsHealth provides a list of tips you can use to protect children who access the web:
- Parental controls: Work with your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to set up parental controls. These controls can help you block sites that are inappropriate. You can also use the ISP’s technology to track online activity.
- Education: Train your children on how to access the web. Explain to them that there are sites that are inappropriate. Talk about the risk of cyber bullying. Make sure that your children are comfortable coming to you if they feel unsafe while using the web.
- Computer location: Put the computer that your children use in a common area of your home. That location could be in the kitchen of a home office. Don’t allow a child to have a computer in their room. If a younger child is using a mobile device, insist that they not access the Internet in their room.
- Bookmark sites: Bookmarks sites that your child uses. Teach them how to access bookmarks. This step will reduce the number of times a child types in the search bar. If a child spells a search term incorrectly, they are at risk of accessing the wrong type of site.
- Net Smartz recommends that parents limit how long children can use the Internet each day. Parents should also set rules for instant messaging, email use, online games and the use of webcams.
The Internet can be a great learning tool for children. Kids need to be comfortable with using the web for school and their careers. Use these tips to protect children.