There are over 350,000 registered child predators in the U.S. alone. Educating your kids about internet safety is crucial. Every parent wants to protect their children, but they rarely think about what they are doing on email, or twitter, or texting. Learning to protect your kids on the internet is important--and this instructable shouldn't be taken lightly.
Step 1: Is It Spying?
Checking up on your kids' emails and text messages is a good thing to do. Although they may ask you, "Mom, why are you spying on me?", you aren't. You are simply keeping them safe. And the good part? You don't need to check everything. I mean, don't check their messages with their friends, their friends aren't strangers. However, if you see an unfamiliar person or contact, check it out. Many times on internet games, such as Minecraft, kids use the External Servers wrongly. Many kids use it for dating, not playing. Some kids may get caught up in this, and give their text username or email away. This is bad, and not okay. This person could be a Child Predator! Always check your kids' emails and texts, or twitter and facebook. But remember, don't take it too far, kids do need their privacy.
Annica is playing her favorite game: Minecraft, on a community server. A boy asks for her to be his girlfriend, and she says yes. Afterwards, she gives him her kik. And the boy gets personal information from her, such as her age, address, and email. Annica asks his age, and he says 14, her age. However, this boy is really 32. They arrange a meeting, and Annica goes. She is kidnapped, and later found dead in an old abandoned farmhouse. If her parents had monitored her texting, she would not have been kidnapped.
NOTE***This is not a true story, just one I created. Many times, the person is just a mindless teen, but sometimes, this may not be the case.
Step 2: Parental Controls
Parental Controls is a good thing!! With some Parental Controls, you can choose what apps are downloaded, and you can disable certain apps, websites, internet, books, movies, etc. This is great if you have kids under 18, who are not technically adults. Giving them freedom is good, but to an extent. You need control. With parental controls, you can set time limits, disable web, and only allow certain apps. This is great because you can choose what kind of content you want your kid to be seeing and playing.
Step 3: Is Kik Okay?
This is the question that everyone has been asking lately. It has been rated 18+, but can tweens and teens use it too. My answer? Under close supervision. Checking their kik every once in awhile is good. Since kik has so many smaller built in apps, it is hard to know what's okay, and what your kid will do on it. Some of the apps are completely child friendly, such as NumNums. However, kik has some seriously innapropriate apps, such as flirt with random people, or who's the cutest girl. Those types of apps aren't okay. Monitoring your kids will make sure they aren't playing these, where they could possibly give out personal info. Kik is great for chatting with friends, but it must be monitored closely.
Step 4: Cyberbullying
CYBERBULLYING IS NOT OKAY!!! Teaching your kids to be nice online is crucial. You must teach your kids to be kind and nice online, as well as in person. However, how do you protect your kids from being cyberbullied. Teach them a few simple things.
- Tell them to show you mean messages immediately.
- Don't respond to mean messages.
- Don't be mean back! Don't, don't, don't, don't, don't! You can't fight fire with fire.
- Don't be mean
- Don't chat with mean people.
- Don't let it get to you!
Step 5: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat
Are these okay? Are they? At a certain age, kids should be allowed to have these. I recommend the age of 15 or 16 for facebook, and twitter, but I think 14 is okay for instagram and snapchat. However, you need to set some ground rules. Here are a few I've come up with:
- No Dating
- I get to check them whenever I want
- Only post kind pictures you like and you wouldn't want deleted later
- No rude comments
- I have to be your "friend"
- Nobody you don't know can be friends with you on any of these.