|Updated: 1/04/2013 5:27 pm
||Published: 1/03/2013 4:05 pm
With more and more children able to access the internet through knowledge and more technology devices, it's difficult to know how to keep them safe online.
Tamara Walker, host of the Ask MomRN Show says knowing which device your child uses to access the internet is key. "Kids often have multiple devices with internet access so parents must know how their kids are getting online and what they are doing while online. This requires close supervision, open communication, and parental controls or internet filters," she said. "My nephew learned how to unlock his mom’s iPhone and access Little Einstein videos on You Tube when he was only 8 months old! While that truly is too young to be online, with close supervision and the use of parental controls and internet filters that only allow access to sites you have pre-approved, I believe it is safe to allow kids to learn to use the internet when they are in elementary school," Walker said.
There are apps and filters available to filter the unsafe sites. "Some popular ones are NetNanny and BSecure Online," she said. "Also, most cell phone providers offer parental controls for smart phones and both Apple and Android phones have some built-in control features."
Social network is the hot topic on everyone's mind and can be a dangerous place for children to interact with predators. "While it may seem that EVERYONE is on social networking sites, including your child’s friends, that doesn’t mean kids should be on them before they are old enough to use them safely and responsibly. When a teen starts driving, he has to get a learner’s permit before he can obtain a license, so he can safely learn the rules of the road with adult supervision. The same should be true for social networking. Until the child is old enough to have an account, which is usually 13 or 14 years of age, then she should not be allowed to have one," Walker said. "When your child is old enough, then you can help set up an account with her, with the understanding that you must always have access to the password and will be monitoring the account in order to protect her and to help her learn how to use it safely and responsibly. Talk about what she is and is not allowed to post, about privacy, and what to do if someone she does not know contacts her or sends a friend request. Check your child’s activity frequently and allow more independence as he ages and shows he can use social media responsibly."
You can visit MomRN.com and I also recommend TheOnlineMom.com and WiredSafety.org for more tips on internet safety for families.