How do I keep my kids safe online?
The short answer - you can’t. As a parent, we know you’d leap into oncoming traffic to save your kid. But even in the real world, you can’t be around your kid 24x7 to make sure nothing bad happens. That’s why you equip them with the life skills to protect themselves. When it comes to their lives online, the same rules apply.
Encourage your kids to communicate
As a parent, we know you can’t always follow your kids online. That’s why we recommend setting up the following types of dialogue with your children around internet safety:
- If in doubt, ask an adult: Just like a city, the internet has safe and unsafe spaces. If your child is unsure about any website, encourage them to ask you to look at it first.
- Talk about uncomfortable content: From time to time, your child may run into content that may make them uncomfortable. Remind them to always stop when they see such content and discuss it with an adult.
- Discourage sharing personal info: Children need to be reminded that personal information should never be shared without the permission of their parents.
Think of online safety like camping safety
- Be visible to an adult as much as possible: When your child first starts going online, you should encourage them to browse their device in your presence as much as possible.
- If you don’t know, don’t go: With younger children, you must mutually agree which websites they can use; with teens, discuss what kind of content is appropriate and what’s not.
- Certain tasks are off limits for their age: Social media, gaming sites and video sharing sites have strict age-limits which you need to enforce. But you know your child best. So you’ll know just when they’re ready to have a social media account.
- Discuss what can and cannot be touched: Take the time to explain why they shouldn’t click on links, open email attachments or respond to surveys from people they don’t know
- Talk about consequences: Give them the assurance that you are here foremost to keep them safe. This means you'll always listen and respond to their online activity without judgement or punishment for telling the truth.
If you’re concerned that something your child has seen online is inappropriate, please report it to your internet, mobile or games provider (go to the ‘Help’ or ‘Safety’ areas on their website to find out how) or report it to NetSafe.