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Tips for Parents: Safeguarding Your Children Online

Uncategorized Jul 23, 2019

Parents are concerned today about how to protect their children from pornography and harmful materials. The National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families released some helpful tips for parents to safeguard their children and families:

  • Get comfortable- Practice talking about pornography and sex with your spouse- get out the giggles and prepare for questions before you talk to your kids.
  • Keep the door of communication open with each family member.
  • If you have reason to suspect your child is viewing inappropriate sites, do not react in a way that is shaming – approach your son or daughter with respect and in private.
  • Develop a trusting relationship with your child early so they feel safe with you when you bring up your concerns.
  • Add to online profiles that you monitor your child’s use of the Internet
  • Keep your computers in heavy traffic areas in your home, including laptops and handheld devices.
  • Discourage your children from making friends online. Predators will try to convince kids otherwise and usually lie about who they are online so they can meet kids and hurt them.
  • Use a filtering program or service. Two of our favorites here at LifeSTAR St. George are K9 (free) and Pandora’s Hope (a filtered router that filters every Internet-enabled device in your home).
  • Check CD’s, jump drives, and other external hard drives for inappropriate content.
  • Check History Files often and consider using accountability software that shows where family members have been on the Internet (Covenant Eyes is a good program for this)
  • Spend time with your child as they surf the Internet
  • Ask your child to show you what IM (Instant messaging) looks like
  • Spend time with your child on-line, and have them teach you about their favorite on-line destinations
  • Get to know and use the “Parental Controls” provided by your Internet Service Provider and/or blocking software
  • Always maintain access to your child’s on-line account, social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, etc) and randomly check his or her account with them
  • It’s important for parents to be aware of possible internet traps kids can get into accidentally. Children’s characters are often linked to thousands of porn links, such as Dora, Pokeman, etc.
  • Teach your child about responsible use of the resources on the Internet and set time limits.
  • Find out what safeguards are used at your child’s school, the public library and at the homes of your child’s friends. These are all places, outside your supervision, where a child could encounter an on-line predator. Talk with the parents of your children’s friends to find out how they safeguard the Internet in their homes. This takes courage and will be uncomfortable. However, you will never regret protecting your children and possibly your child’s friends.
  • Instruct your child NEVER to arrange face-to-face meetings with someone on-line and NOT to respond to messages or bulletin board postings that are suggestive, obscene, belligerent or harassing. As the parent, explain these terms at the child’s level. Also, explain why they shouldn’t arrange face to face meetings- predators lie about who they are online (they say they are younger, different gender, have the same interests as the kid etc.) so they can meet the kid and hurt them.
  • Tell your child to NEVER give out identifying information such as name, address, school name or telephone number to people they don’t know
  • Explain to your child to NEVER post pictures of themselves on the Internet – let them know this has seriously harmed other children. Additionally, consider monitoring your child’s Facebook page if he/she has one, and discuss other social networking sites your child is interested in
  • Teach your child to come and get you when they accessed something on the Internet that makes them feel uncomfortable, no matter what it is
  • Teach your child that the Internet is a good source for educational, recreational and creative searches, but has also been infiltrated by harmful messages.
  • Let your child know that he/she is not “bad” if he/she comes across inappropriate content.
  • Research shows that when parents openly discuss these topics the youth are less likely to experiment and more likely to follow their parents recommendations.

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