We no longer live in the same world that we grew up in. This has some amazing benefits but also has unique challenges that we didn’t face as a child. As parents, we need to be wise in how we handle the new dangers that are present to our children. One of the challenges we face is how to protect our children online.
You may think that your children are safe because you have a filter on your computer and they don’t have cell phones. However, tell that to my friend whose son was exposed to pornography at age 7 by a neighborhood boy. Most likely, at some point during childhood, your child will encounter some kind of internet danger, and they need to be prepared!
Children and the Internet
In today’s times, children and the internet are going to happen. While the internet has many valuable uses, even for children, there are dangers as well.
Why is Internet Safety Important?
Why is it important to teach kids about internet safety? Well, we live in a digital world. Our children often have access to the internet from a young age, whether they’re using it to do research, learn a skill, or for school. With access to the internet via computer or phones, our children need to know the importance of internet safety.
Children tend to be very naive and trusting. They have no idea of things such as identity theft, sexual grooming, viruses and malware, pornography, or illegal downloads. Because of this, internet safety is important to teach to our children before they run into trouble. They need to know what to do if they encounter one of these dangers as well as how to avoid them in the first place.
What Can Parents do to Protect Their Child on the Internet?
Fortunately, there are many ways for protecting children online. The internet safety tips below will certainly help with child online safety, but sometimes even our best efforts will not be enough. At some point in their lives, most people will be exposed to the dangers of the internet, usually as a child. That is why we also need a plan for when that happens. Your child needs to know the dangers and what to do if confronted with them.
Internet safety for kids
Do you have safeguards in place for when your children use the internet? Our children are learning how to do a crazy amount of skills, and navigating the internet safely needs to be one of them. If you teach your child these internet safety tips, they will be less likely to get into trouble online. I’ve found safesearchkids.com to be a great resource, so definitely check that out. Now, let’s jump into some basic internet safety tips to keep your children safe.
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- Never give out personal information such as name, address, school, etc.
- Only talk online with people you know in real life.
- Keep all computer use in the main areas of the home. No computers in bedrooms or behind closed doors.
- Have parental controls and/or an internet filter. We have Microsoft family, but there are many options out there.
- Don’t allow computer use after bedtime. Use the parental controls to turn off access after a certain time.
- Don’t post or trade personal pictures unless you have permission from a parent.
- Never agree to meet with someone in person without parent supervision.
- Always tell a parent about any threatening or scary messages or conversations.
- Tell your children not to use screens of any kind at a neighbor or friend’s house without permission.
- Bookmark or favorite your child’s favorite websites.
- Teach your child to only share passwords with a parent.
- Never buy something or accept a free thing that asks for personal information without a parent’s permission.
- Don’t download or install anything on the computer without parent permission.
- Teach your child what to do if they see pornography. We’ll talk about that more below.
- Remind your children that anything put onto social media is there for the world to see.
What does the Bible say about the role of a mother? To learn more about being a godly mother, check out these 10 characteristics of a good mother according to the Bible.
Talking to Kids about Porn
While we’re on the topic of child online safety, we definitely need to be talking to our kids about pornography. Most likely you will need to have this talk sooner than you think you should need to since the average age of first exposure is 11 years old. In fact, a majority of children have been exposed by age 13.
Pornography exposure will distort God’s design for sex inside of marriage. Even if you have all the filters and parental controls, your child may be exposed to porn at a friend or neighbor’s home. It is of ultimate importance to talk to your children about a game plan for if they come across pornography.
I’ve found a fantastic resource, Protect Young Minds, to help you in this battle. There you will find many free resources to help you defend against pornography in the life of your child. Also, the woman who runs this site also has an amazing book out, Good Pictures, Bad Pictures. There is also a Jr. version for children ages 3-6. These books talk about pornography in a way designed just for kids. Most importantly, it gives them a game plan for if they do accidentally come across something they shouldn’t. Please at least get their free resources and sign up for their newsletter, but highly recommend the book as well.
I’d love to share a few more tips for talking to your kids about porn. I know it’s uncomfortable, but it needs to happen.
- Be calm and confident when talking to your children about these touchy subjects.
- Have the conversation sooner than you think you need to.
- Remind your child that pornography interferes with God’s special design for marriage.
- Tell your child to come to you if they ever see something they feel uncomfortable about.
- Realize that this is an ongoing conversation. Not only will your child need to be reminded, but they will feel more comfortable coming to you if you talk about it more often.
Child Online Protection
As I’ve discussed, internet safety is incredibly important in the time in which we live. The good news is that there are many ways to combat the dangers of the internet, but you will have to be vigilant. Pornography is a very real part of keeping your child safe online, so we need to have a game plan for how to handle that as well.
What tip did you find to be the most helpful? Let me know in the comments. Also, if you have another tip that works well for your family, please let us all know.
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