Category: Online Safety for Kids

5 Ways to Monitor Your Child’s Online Presence

Monitor Your Child’s Online Presence

While there are many benefits to the capabilities of online services, the web can be terrifying to parents of young kids and teenagers. Without proper systems in place, parents are concerned with the safety of their kids’ identity.

Many adults want to ensure that their children are not incurring bullying or harassment through online platforms. Thankfully, many software systems and search sites have been created to help limit and monitor the usage of technology for children. In this article, we will share five ways that adults can monitor the online presence of their children.

1. Ask Your Child About Their Experience

Many children are unaware of the dangers posed online. As an adult, you should make it a safe environment for your kids to come forward with their concerns regarding internet usage. Let them voice any issues they had or ask questions about content they encountered while using the web. Additionally, let them know that adults are willing to help keep them safe online if they ever do encounter a situation that makes them uncomfortable.

2. Monitor Their Web Usage With Technology

There are many ways to use technology to monitor your child’s website usage on computers, tablets and smartphones. Many software packages offer safe search engines that allow parents to block inappropriate websites from being accessed by children. Some programs also include real-time monitoring so parents can see what is being viewed on the computer during each session. If your child is new to navigating the web, this monitoring will be extremely helpful for safe searching.

3. Search Your Family Using an Online Platform

If you are curious about what information is available about your family online, search on a comprehensive engine like USSearch. This platform will help draw out relevant information so that you can see what content is readily available for other internet users. This can be helpful for verifying that profiles your children have on social media are safe and free of problematic content. If you find any information about your family online, take immediate steps to correct it.

4. Converse About the Proper Way to Use Social Media

While many websites use small disclaimers to remind users not to share personal details, kids often do so without hesitation. Be sure to talk with your child about the pitfalls of giving out private information on the web (phone number, address, school name). This will ensure that your kids are safe from any potential danger.

5. Talk With Their Teachers and Peers

If a teacher or a peer has ever complained about the behavior of your child online, discuss these issues with them immediately. This conversation can be difficult because it can mean admitting that you were not aware of something concerning occurring on your kid’s web usage.

Endnote

Having discernment when talking to your kids about their online presence is important. When you gain their trust, you can help keep them safe and respectable online. By putting adequate guardrails in place, you children will learn to use the internet appropriately.

Teaching, Not Precluding, the Web

Teaching, Not Precluding, the Web

There can be so many risks associated with the online world, from the threat of identity theft to the potential for exposure to inappropriate content to the danger of child exploitation, that parents may be tempted to try to shield their child from the digital domain entirely. But not only is that impossible, it’s also unwise.

The reality is that the digital revolution is here. Now, more than ever, our lives revolve around the web. For many of us, cyberspace is where we work, learn, get our entertainment, and connect with the people we love. And if you want to prepare your child to thrive not just for today but for the increasingly digitized world of tomorrow, then you can’t avoid the cyberworld. But what you can do is teach them how to navigate it skillfully, safely, and smartly.

Gaming Your Way to Good Internet Citizenship

One of the most challenging aspects of teaching your kids how to be safe online derives from the fact that the risks are not only constantly changing, but they can also be difficult to understand and identify. This is particularly true for younger children, who may not yet have a solid understanding of important safety and security issues, such as the need to safeguard your personal data or how to remain alert to stranger danger online.

Fortunately, parents have several great resources for helping their kids learn good internet citizenship while having fun at the same time. Games such as Internland engage children through a series of challenging puzzles and quests. These games require players to master important online safety skills to advance to higher levels of the game.

Best of all, gameplay gets kids to apply these techniques in a range of different scenarios, helping them to retain, recall, and effectively use these skills.

Another engaging and nonthreatening approach to learning internet safety through gameplay is the bCyberwise Monster Family app for Android and iOS. The app addresses myriad challenges that today’s connected kids, and their parents, face every day. Topics such as respectful online communication, savvy social media use, and even the importance of strong passwords are explored through mini adventure games that children and adults alike will love.

Turning Kids Into Content Creators

If you’re like many parents, long months of pandemic lockdowns have likely sent you scrambling for ways to keep the kids entertained and occupied while Mom and Dad attend to work and home responsibilities. But just because pandemic restrictions are beginning to ease does not mean that you can’t use the time you and your little ones spend at home to discover new ways to safely engage in the digital domain.

Kids today are true digital natives, having grown up with access to technologies that their parents could not have begun to imagine at the same age. And that means that children are often far more technologically skilled than their parents realize.

These skills can be harnessed to great effect regarding teaching web safety by encouraging your child to become not just a digital content consumer, but also a content creator. For instance, helping your child create their own videos and animations can be an ideal way for them to learn about the “behind the scenes” realities of their favorite digital channels, the hidden processes their favored producers use to create content.

And ultimately that’s going to increase your child’s digital literacy, better equipping them to differentiate fact from fiction when consuming online content and thus making it less likely that they will fall prey to deceptive or nefarious materials. After all, there is perhaps no better way to master a medium than by actively engaging with it, no better way to learn than by doing.

A Family Affair

One of the scariest things about allowing your children to engage the internet is how easily the virtual door to your home and child may be opened to predators and others with evil intent.  But it is possible to guard the gate to your little one while still giving them the freedom to take advantage of all the opportunities that the great World Wide Web provides.

In addition to educational gaming and digital content creation, children should also learn about internet safety through the policies that parents impose regarding technology use. The prioritization of safety at all times and in all contexts must inform every encounter with the child’s tech.

This must involve the effective use of firewalls and passwords, the rejection of suspicious apps and downloads, and the avoidance of insecure websites. Above all, this should include an approach to internet technology that sees every device and all the content on it not as private, but as the province of both the child and their parents.

For example, children should learn to expect that parents will monitor all of their online activity, including not only the use of online trackers and monitors but also regular inspections of the child’s devices. Children should expect parents to enter the room and look over their shoulder when online, to demand to see their smartphones and tablets without warning and to keep a current list of all the child’s online accounts and passwords.

If such an approach to the online world is integrated into the internet safety learning process from the beginning, then kids are less likely to see it as restrictive or punitive. Rather, parents can help children understand that family transparency when it comes to the internet is simply an aspect, perhaps the most important aspect, of online safety.

The Takeaway

Given the risks that too often accompany the online world, parents may be tempted to ban their children from the internet entirely. But that may well do more harm than good. Rather than precluding children from the web, however, parents can teach their children to use the internet safely, skillfully, and smartly.

5 Things Parents Need to Know about TikTok

Is TikTok Safe for Kids

Everyone has heard a lot about TikTok. Since its introduction, it has been incredibly popular and one of the most actively downloaded applications. Many celebrities and bloggers have their accounts there, in order to promote their content, while ordinary users watch the viral videos.

According to a 2021 study, TikTok has over 1 billion active users. Every day over 50 million people use this application.

We can only rejoice for app developers and creators and their success. However, there is a dark side. The incredibly popular networks are dangerous for kids’ online safety. Parents whose kids love to spend a lot of time on the phone should set up social media for kids and also take parental control seriously, as innocuous actions can backfire.

In this article, we will talk about the dangers of the TikTok app. We will tell you how to make safety settings and give some safety tips for your children.

What is the danger of TikTok?

When buying a phone for our children, we do this so that our kids are always in touch and we know where they are. However, in the era of using the World Wide Web, it is impossible to keep track of all the actions of the child on the phone. Some parents do not even realize how reckless actions on the Internet can lead to dire consequences.

On the one hand, with the help of TikTok videos, they can learn a lot of new things thanks to educational content. They can observe other people’s talents and this can inspire them to find a new hobby. However, besides all this, there are also dangerous things.

Video 18+

Recommendations that are selected for viewing using the algorithms of the application can offer completely different videos for viewing. Initially, your child may watch funny videos with kittens and dogs, and the next one may be 18+ videos or clips where injuries are inflicted, or there is a conversation about the meaninglessness of life.

Application developers conduct regular work to track negative content, but such work cannot be done promptly.

Moreover, open profiles of children can lead to the fact that pedophiles or other unfriendly people can communicate with your child and force them to perform immoral actions. First of all, you need to set up your child’s account, make the account private, so that only friends can write messages and watch videos. Secondly, for your peace of mind, you can install a parental controls, which will monitor all of your child’s activity when you are not around and send you alerts, including apps like TikTok.

Intimidation

Many children not only watch videos of other users, but also upload their videos, repeating trends and challenges. It seems quite harmless, but if your child provides personal information, then people with bad intentions can send messages and encourage them to shoot a video of a sexual nature, or simply send messages with threats that humiliate and insult your child. This can lead to the fact that your children become afraid and they may have thoughts of leaving life.

In order to avoid bullying, you should have a conversation with your child and explain that in no case, in any applications, they cannot indicate their personal information and place of residence. Explain that not all videos are good and harmless.

Also, do not prohibit the child from using these applications. Because everyone knows that when something is forbidden, it becomes what we desperately want. In this case, your child will hide many things from you. You should have a serious conversation with your child and explain in a calm tone how their actions on the Internet can turn out. Your job needs to include establishing trusting relationships and raising confident children.

How to make TikTok safe for your kid

How safe is the app for young children?

This year, the app has updated privacy settings to ensure that the app can be used by children over the age of 13. When registering, the application automatically makes the account private. Also, if children create their video, then only their friends, confirmed users of the application, can view it.

However, don’t completely rely on these settings. Many children may indicate that they are over 18 when registering and viewing adult content. Therefore, make sure your child’s account is private, and also check friends who can watch videos your child has posted.

Controlling content and personal interactions

The next item will be the parental control in TikTok. The app allows you to link your account with your child’s account. To do this, you need to use the “Family Pairing” and “Digital Wellbeing” functions. Thanks to these functions, you get the opportunity to view personal correspondence with other users, set up restrictions on the use of the application, set time limits, and you can also prohibit viewing adult content.

Moreover, you will receive alerts on your phone if your child wants to change any settings.

Data collection

It’s no secret that many apps and social networks store your personal information. Moreover, TikTok sends your data to many companies and advertisers so that you can receive interesting advertising offers in the recommendation feed. If anyone has carefully read the privacy policy of this application, then you are well aware of this.

However, there is one thing that is not mentioned anywhere. When you are not using TikTok, but using other applications, then it collects all your data, such as passwords, bank card details, and other personal information.

Conclusion

The world of the Internet is incredibly exciting, but also dangerous, especially for children. Unsuspectingly, your children can fall prey to intruders and provide them with their personal information. Parents should get serious about Internet safety, review all the app settings that enable privacy features. Also, be sure to have a conversation with your child and explain what good and bad things are. It is not enough just to prohibit doing something, it is necessary to provide explanations so that your child learns to understand that many actions in applications can lead to sad consequences.

About the Author:
Ben Jacklin is an expert writer in software reviews and tutorials. He has qualifications in Media and Music Technology and has been blogging about  tech support since his teenage years. He writes on a variety of topics, including the latest trends in the world of media, gaming, educational apps etc., with a focus on providing high-quality and safe programs that might be useful for his readers.

How to Activate Free Parental Controls

Free Parental Control Software Apps Guide

When seeking parental controls to keep your family safe online, there is a lot of consider. We’ll start with a checklist of all the devices your child may be using that are connected to the Internet.   Then, we’ll explore free parental control software and app solutions to help you cover all the bases.  Many of these options parental control settings built in.

Lets first define the areas we are dealing with, which are contained in our free parental control guide.

Types of Parental Controls

  1. Installable software for computers and lap tops; PC’s with Windows, Mac desktops and lap tops.
  2. Downloadable Apps for mobile devices; iPhones, Andriods, iPads, Kindle Fire, tablets or any device that has an app store.
  3. Parental controls on game consoles or on Internet based video games, either directly online or via software.
  4. Free factory built-in parental controls that may be limited by still usually available on a particular device or a software program or app on that device.  These include Internet browsers, a social media account or app, YouTube.
  5. Parental controls that are controls by an account with a parental log in and password. (Microsoft, Google or Apple Account).

A typical family is facing these challenges:  One child may have a tablet and an iPhone.  Another child may be working on the family computer and use an Andriod.  You may have a Kindle Fire that all the kids share.  Teens will be playing video games, as well as have a lap top and an iPhone or Android phone. These are just the devices.

Places Kids Need Protection

  1. In their bedroom.
  2. At school.
  3. On the playground.
  4. At a friends house.
  5. On the school bus.

Whether at home on a desktop, or in multiple locations on a smart phone, parents need to individually look at each of device their kids are using and be aware of what they are doing on those devices. And whenever you kids leave your home with a lap top, tablet or mobile phone, the internet goes with them.  This greatly increases the need for parental controls.

Kids Internet Activity:  Key Points to Consider.

  • Are they searching the Internet through a browser?
  • Are they searching the Internet through a browser app?
  • Are they interacting on social media on a desktop or via an app?
  • Are they playing videos comes online through an Internet browser or software download?
  • Are they playing video games on a gaming console. Is that gaming console connect to the Internet and interacting with other kids?
  • Are they watching YouTube through their main website or via the new YouTube kids app?

Safe Search Kids has prepared a free parental control guide that covers all of your devices, as well as the various platforms your kids are using to access the internet.

Internet Filtering

Probably the most urgent parental control concern to address is Internet search.  How do you kids search the web?  Which browsers are they using?  Simplify things by guiding them to use only one browser so you only have to set up parental controls for that browser.  A safe search engine like Safe Search Kids is a resource that enhances Google’s filtering but you should still have the basic parental controls enabled for when kids may to go search Google.com.

Our free parental control guide goes through these various options.   Keep in mind that the browser on their lap top will have different settings than the browser app on a mobile device.  It’s also important to note that filtering options on a browser are very limited.

Social Media Monitoring

Without software or a parental control app, parents must monitor a child’s social media manually.  However, there is away to restrict app downloads within the app store.  Our guide reviews these options to that kids can’t download apps you do not approve of.  This option doesn’t not work with all devices.  Beyond that, get to know the apps your kids are using.  What social media programs are they using.  SnapchatTikTok?  Facebook?  Discuss which platforms you will allow according to their age.

Privacy Settings

Look at all your devices, apps and accounts your kids are using and ensure all privacy settings are set accordingly.  While parental controls are all about keeping your kids from accessing harmful material online, let’s not forget about protecting them from those who will want to reach them.  This will also help protect your kids from online predators,  as well as malware, viruses and online scams.

Video Games Consoles

If you decide to use a parental control software program or an app that fully monitors your kids activity online, you’re still somewhat on your own when it comes to gaming.  Software solutions will help if the video game is online, but this is not usually the case for gamers in your family that use consoles such as PlayStation and xBox. This issue includes hand held devices like Nintendo Switch.  Fortunately, our free guide includes parental control instructions for 20 different gaming consoles.  These protections come with each game from the factory.

Free Parental Controls vs Paid Subscription Models

Setting up parental controls on each device and each individual website platform or application on that device can be a daunting task.  It takes research and time.  Our parental control guide reveals these free ways to do it without fully automated parental control software, according to each area of concern.  In some cases, such as with privacy settings, setting things manually do the job.  In other cases, such as internet filtering and app usage, you will only achieve the basic levels of protection provided from pre-existing limits that come with the browser.

For social media monitoring and internet blocking of the darkest places on the web, you may want to consider paid parental control options.  These also including monitoring of suspicious texts, Internet searches and geo tracking for when kids are away from home.  If in doubt, start with free options.  This is the reason we created our free parental control guide. At the very least, every parents should have the available basic protection settings in place.  This is a process you can include your kids in, so they are aware of their boundaries when free parental controls are not enough.

Download the Free Guide to setting up Free Parental Controls on your various devices. It also shows you free software and free parental control app downloads to help you explore more automated solutions.

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