Although many parents think that they can trust their children to make good decisions when it comes to their online activity, incidents like identity theft or advances from online predators can be difficult to prevent and are impossible to 100 percent guard against. However, if you take the following steps, you should be able to rest easy knowing that your child is in the best position possible to not find themselves in a compromising position due to their online behavior.
- Talk with your kids as often as possible about what they are doing online without being condescending or distrusting. Encourage an atmosphere of trust and do all you can to react constructively to any poor decisions they may have made.
- Give your children freedom, but still supervise all internet-connected devices they use. For instance, have the family computer in an open location of the house where they can’t be hiding their activity, and monitor other devices like game consoles or smart phones for the best identity theft protection.
- On a regular basis, check in on how open your child is being on social media websites, gaming forums, or any online community in which they are active and make sure they know you are keeping tabs. For instance, if you spot any “over-sharing” of information ranging from their home address to their phone number, you need to get that data offline and maybe reel in your child’s online privileges.
The most important thing to communicate with your kids is the fact that anything that goes online has the potential to stay there forever, so if they fear they may regret a decision in posting a photo or sharing information, let them know it is best for them to simply refrain.