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5 Ways to Keep the Internet Safe for Your Children

Child-Caution-300x225The Internet is a dangerous place for kids. It exposes them to a wide variety of risks including cyber bullying, solicitation from sex predators, and exposure to explicit images and videos.
As a parent, protecting your kids from such dangers is not an easy task since you cannot be around all the time to monitor their online activities. However, there are various measures and tools that you can employ to ensure their safety. Do not let those special internet deals detour your family from safety.
Hope you remember the case of Cynthia Udoka Osokogu, a beautiful Nigeria girl who was killed in Lagos some years back by her facebook friends?
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How to Keep Your Kids Safe While Online:
1. Communication
Talking to your kids about the kind of sites or content that they are, or should be accessing online is your first line of defense. Kids are simply curious, especially when it comes to matters concerning sex. Most of the time, they will visit the forbidden sites just to have a glimpse of what lies therein.
However, if you create an open line of communication with your kids, they will have the confidence to talk to you about such sensitive issues or get you to answer any questions that they might have. As such, they are likely to heed your advice and avoid the questionable sites and content.

2. Watchful Parenting
Being vigilant is a good way to keep your kids safe since it enables you to stay one step ahead of them. Even though it is impossible to always know your children’s Internet activities, you must ensure that you keep tabs on them regularly. Start by check their browser history and favorites to see what they have been up to. In addition, visit some of the sites that they have been visiting and see for yourself.
Other than that, watch out for warning signs such as your child quickly closing their browser, computer programs or even shutting down the computer when you walk in on him/her. A browser history that is cleared after every online session is an indication that he/she is up to mischief.
3. Site Filters and Monitors
Filtering web content is a good way to control what your kids can access online. There are many ways of filtering content including:
The use of software applications such as K9 Web Filter, CyberPatrol and NetNanny, which enable you to not only filter out explicit content, sites and links, but also monitor the online activities of your child.
YouTube’s Safety Mode, which filters out videos containing mature content and videos that have age restrictions. It can also hide objectionable comments. Activating the “Safety” feature on all your browsers prevents your kids from viewing inappropriate videos since it automatically blocks such content from the video search results, playlists, films, shows, or related videos.
Google Search’s SafeSearch, which filters explicit images, video, and links from the search results.
Flagging inappropriate content on social networking sites and other online platforms. When you “flag” content, a notification is sent out to the site administrators about the existence of offensive content. If the administrators establish that such content violates the posting guidelines, they pull it down.
4. Computer Location
Your child is more likely to access explicit content from the privacy of their bedroom or other secluded location in the home. Placing the computer in a more public location such as the living room discourages them from straying into forbidden sites because they are aware that you can monitor their activities.
5. Teach Your Kids About Online Safety
Your kids are too young to understand some of risks they face while online. For instance, your child may not see anything wrong with sharing personal information, photos and videos on social networking sites. Spend time with them and go through their online profiles.
In addition, check their email or material posted on their online accounts for any sexually suggestive or inappropriate content. At the end of the day, your children will think that you are being nosy. However, let them know why you are concerned – it is up to you to teach them what is acceptable and what isn’t. Teach them to become responsible sharers.
Thanks for reading
Engr. Seun Owokade (IT Expert)

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