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Family Safety

Best Practices for Parents

Family Safety

Create rules for internet use in the home.
Set guidelines for how and when your kids can use their devices. Make rules about the amount of time they can spend on devices, the apps and games they are allowed to play, and when they can use their devices. Set conditions for use, such as finishing their homework before they can play games. Parental control software can assist with this. Programs for computers and apps for phones and tablets are available to help set time limits and block harmful sites and apps. Some apps even have features that allow for supervised devices to ask for permission before downloading apps or making purchases.
Do a little research before downloading or setting up parental control programs to make sure the app has all of the features you need and doesn’t collect sensitive information about your child.

Know what your kids are doing online.
Routinely check social media and the internet history on computers and devices to see which sites your child is visiting. Keep in touch on social media to see who their friends are and what content they are interacting with. Filtering and monitoring software is available for all devices (and is sometimes paired with parental control apps). Create rules for the filtering software that will block our harmful or adult websites. Visit the sites that your children use in order to see what content is available to them there.

Use the internet with your kids.
Spend time letting your kids show you what they do online. This can be a great learning experience for both of you. Have discussions about what to do if they find content that they find questionable or uncomfortable. Show them settings on their device that they can use to limit exposure to bad content.

Keep tabs on cell phone usage.
Remember that most cell phones are computers, even though they have the capability to make phone calls. They can surf the web and visit any site that a desktop computer can access. Use parental monitoring software to set rules and time restrictions, block inappropriate content, and keep kids from making unapproved purchases.

If you agree to let your child meet an online buddy in person, go with them.
Be sure to meet in a public spot, and let the buddy know you will be accompanying your child. If the online buddy is against meeting this way, it’s a tip-of that you probably don’t want them meeting anyway.

Don’t rely solely on technology as a substitute for you.
It’s important that we talk to our kids about the dangers they face online and help them to understand the safeguards that we put in place to protect them. Keep an open line of communication with your child so that they know they can come to you about the situations they face without fear of punishment.