Protect Your Kids without Controlling Them
It’s almost like a natural law: let kids use computers and they will get into some kind of trouble. Playing video games after the homework is done? Probably fine. Playing those games at any time of the day or night and watching their grades slip? Not so much. “I like to be able to control the amount of time my son uses certain applications,” says Jillian Darlington, CEO of the MomCo App, illustrating the common problem. “If I didn’t have this control, it can get out of hand and he could play video games for countless hours. I am glad that there are options like this out there for busy parents like me.”
Computer monitoring software for parents is a big part of the solution. Watch what your kid is doing on your home computer from your office desktop or your traveling laptop. Get reports about websites they’ve visited, apps they’ve used and more – and know for certain what they’re up to. Just having that software and letting your kid know you’ve got it is often enough to help prevent your kid from getting into trouble.
If you want to be doubly sure that your kid is safe (and what parent doesn’t want that?) then it’s not a bad idea to combine computer monitoring software with other strategies. Here are some tips from some of the most trusted family security pundits, Mommybloggers and other experts around.
Jennifer Ralston, Square 32 Consulting:
Talk about social networks and internet privacy with your kids. “As tech savvy as kids are today, they may not understand the finer points. For instance, one third of kids still think that the right privacy settings prevent people from copying their pictures – which isn’t true.”
Set computer usage rules together. “Children are much more likely to follow the rules if they have helped create them.”
Recognize where the threats are – and watch out for them. “One myth people continue to believe is that adult predators are the biggest online threat. Studies show overwhelmingly that children report that most, if not all, problems arise from their immediate peers.”
Don’t teach tools. Teach behaviors. “What are your expectations for how they behave online, what sites they visit, or who they interact with? There will always be a new app or site. Teach kids the behavior you expect online from them no matter what the forum.”
Julie McCaffrey, PishPoshBaby.com:
Create a technology-free time of the day. “Give your family a chance to fully bond and build meaningful relationships. Do fun activities together that your children will look back on with fond memories.”
Use parental controls. “They’re there for a reason. Activate them when setting up apps and games on your smart phone or computer for kids to play online.”
Got any other tips about protecting your kid on the home PC? Tell us on Twitter how you made the world safer for your young one.