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By: Dora Brogdon

The internet today has grown so much since the day it was made. I could go on and on about all the good things the internet has to give for all ages but there are many downsides to such great things. But with every new thing that comes out it’s guaranteed to have some dangers attached to it and they can become even scarier when your children don’t recognize them. If you have any kids that love going online, then you need to show them these five safety tips!

First thing parents need to do is to check out what your kids are doing on the internet. Have them show you their favorite website or all the websites they like to go to. By doing so, you get a better idea on what they like to do so you can see what type of website it is and see if it’s safe for your child. Even go as far as checking the parental locks if needed on both the device and website. Setting those locks will not only let your child click on safe websites to explore but will also make sure the content is safe as well.

The second thing you can do is have a discussion about what your children post and who they are allowed talk to on the internet. Be sure that you are very clear and don’t leave anything important out. Talk to them about the passwords and usernames they will be using. Make sure they understand how to make a strong password and their username doesn’t reveal anything personal like their name, birthday, or even nickname.

The third thing parents can do is keep the computer, or laptop, where you can see it. This will let you be able to check on them and see what they are looking up. You and your child can decide where the device will stay. Whether it stays in the kitchen or the living room, never let it or your child leave your sight. Doing this will keep your child in check.

The fourth thing you can do is follow your child on social media. From there you are able to see the content they post and what their friends post. About once a week the two of you could go through her or his followers and delete those who aren’t friends with your child. Sure your child might not like that since the more followers they have means they’re more popular but you are doing it for their own safety. There are even age requirements for certain apps or websites your child may want to use. For example, Snapchat requires their users be 13 years of age before using the app. That same age requirement goes for Facebook and Instagram.

The fifth thing you will need to do is to know who your child is talking to. A predator could easily pretend to be the same age as your child and could easily start talking to them without the child realizing it. For example, there’s really no way to tell if that 14 year old girl really is an actual living and breathing human being. But now it’s so easy to take someone’s photo and use it as their own to trick others making it harder to believe the face you see on the screen. One warning sign would be they want to meet your child in person but it could be the person in the photo. Either way it is to risky to let your child actually go through with the meeting.

There are more ways to protect your child from the dark side of the internet but for the moment being it doesn’t hurt to start at the basics.

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