Last weekend, my six-year-old cousin came to our home. He asked me for my laptop to use the internet. I thought he wants to play some games online but I was shocked to find out that he was using Facebook instead. He started boasting about his Facebook friends and said I have given them my contact number so, prominent people from so many countries call me. I immediately told his parents and explained to them that some people online are posing to be some celebrities and contacting their son. They had no idea how this is a potential threat. I explained to them how anyone online can see your child as a great target for cyberbullying, cyber harassment or even worse, to pry out information from their kid to misuse later.

Here’s how you can ensure that your kids stay safe online:

Have a detailed conversation

As a parent, you must not wait till something dreadful happens to have the most important conversation with your kid regarding online safety. Tell your child to ask you before making anyone their friend online. Explain to them why they need to do so. Tell them to never share their photos or personal address with any stranger online. Tell them that their account can be hacked so, they must only share information or photos that they do not want the whole world to see.
Tell them to ask for your permission before downloading anything online because it might be a virus. Tell them that if they ever receive any hateful message, they must talk to you right away.

Install a parental control software

A parental control software gives you a lot of control One really good software that I have been personally using for some kids at my home is Net Nanny. You can use it to block certain apps and websites that you feel your child should not be using. You can also use the software to monitor what your children are doing online. This is particularly a blessing for working parents who cannot be there with their kids to keep a track of what they do online.

Use every social media account they are using

No matter how pointless or stupid the dog filters on Snapchat seem, you really need to install every social media app your child is into. This will help you have a comprehensive understanding of the potential threats your child is facing and you can explore the safety settings and make sure your child is not contacted by any stranger on these platforms or any information that your child is keeping public. It is necessary to be your child’s friend both online and offline. So, educate yourself first regarding privacy settings of every social media platform so, you can teach them better to your children.

Set some rules

The first and foremost rule that you can set is to ensure that your child can use the internet only after they have finished their homework. This will ensure that your kids are not spending too much time online. Also, make sure that your child knows that they can use the internet only when you are around. This would mitigate the risk of them getting exposed to any unwanted content online. Make sure your child knows that breaking any rule will lead to a serious reprimand from your side.

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