5 Tips Every Parent Should Do to Protect Their Kids Online


Internet safety for parents is a top concern. Naturally, in today’s day and age, parents are worried about the kind of influences their young, impressionable children are getting from the free web. While there are parental control apps that can help to a certain extent, parents with can’t stop older kids from being active on social media, where they can have access to adult or lewd content and get chatted up — or worse still, groomed — by strangers who intentionally slide into their DMs.

What can concerned parents do to protect their kids online? Here are some tips on internet safety for parents to impart to their offspring, to keep them cybersafe on this wild, wild web.

Internet safety for teens and kids: What are some risks?

There are many risks involved when using the internet. These include watching age-inappropriate content online and being approached by strangers with bad intentions. 

A safety-savvy parent has to ensure their child knows how to guard against other dangers of varying degrees, such as cyberbullying, being scammed, encountering phishing sites, and even accidentally downloading malware that could render the family computer unusable.

With social media like TikTok all the rage now, your pre-teen or teen might want to jump onto trends that encompass dance moves, funny filters and so on. However, they may not understand that some “dares”, “pranks”, “stunts”, “body hacks” or even “experiments” could have bad outcomes even if it looks funny on screen.

In addition, your kiddo may inadvertently share private information online with strangers, or post something that could come back to haunt them later in life. Incriminating posts might embarrass them, which is mostly harmless, or worse, impact their higher education or career goals.

Top 5 tips to protect children online


So, let’s dive into what parents can do to encourage child-safe internet usage. Here are the top five tips to protect children online. 

1. Limit usage

We know that blue light emitted from screens isn’t very good for the eyes, more so for young eyes. Too much screen time could even result in device addiction, while their peers are enjoying the childhood indulgences of outdoor play, fresh air and exercise.

There are ways to control device usage with parental control apps. These allow you to either limit the time or the type of content that your children consume. Another way is to inculcate in your young ‘uns that they have a set amount of time on weekdays and weekends; and this is only to be utilised as a reward, after they have finished their homework, tasks like showering and eating dinner, or have displayed good behaviour.

2. Find out how your children are using the internet 

No one likes to be scolded, especially if it’s for something they don’t understand and have no idea what they did wrong. As a parent, to find out how your children are using the internet, it’s best to have an open and non-judgemental chat about it. Make it light-hearted and casual: What are they enjoying about it, what did they do on the internet today, did they see anything that made them feel odd or uncomfortable?

Creating the way for an open conversation and a safe space makes them more willing to share, especially for more sensitive apps that they’re using, such as TikTok. You can consume the content together while you talk them through what they’re viewing.

3. Highlight the key risks for children 


As mentioned above, key risks for children on the internet include cyberbullying, grooming, scams and so on. There’s also identity theft, phishing, downloading malware and being encouraged to do “dangerous” things.

Explain to them in simple terms what these mean, and the signs that they could be encountering a threat. For example, since they know they shouldn’t be talking to strangers IRL (in real life); the same logic should apply to the internet as well. Being cyberbullied? It’s quite similar to encountering and reacting to a school bully. This can go in tandem with the earlier point on finding out how your children are using the internet.

In any case, you might not be with your kid 24/7 to monitor their usage, especially with older kids and teens. Therefore, education is key, so that they know how to react and avoid falling prey to such harms online.

To help them feel secure, keep an open line of communication with your child so that they’ll immediately let you know if they encounter anything sus or feel unsafe due to another’s action. 

Another way is to come up with a checklist of “safe” websites they can visit, which have sound security policies and up-to-date digital certificates.

4. Share news related to cybersecurity 

One of the recent scams that saw Singaporeans from all walks of life lose a total of $13.7 million in cash was a large-scale attack that targeted OCBC customers.

Sure, your kids may not yet have their personal bank account and you are still managing the Child Development Account that you started for them at birth. However, they might be targeted by those who want to groom them, or older teens could fall for online part-time job scams.

It’s key to teach your crew the basic skills to avoid phishing and online scams — perhaps by putting a checklist beside the family computer asking them to check a website’s URL, security certificates and so on. 

Also, let the kiddos know that even mama and papa, or even their very clever teacher can fall prey to online scams. 

5. Let them use a shared computer rather than their own device


For adults, the privacy that our own devices afford is priceless. But for younger kiddos who have yet to fully understand the dangers of the digital world, they should be using a shared computer — even if you’ve given them their own mobile phone for ease of communication.

It’s not that you want to monitor their every move, but you do want to make sure that they’re taking the safe route and not stepping on any traps or into unknown territory that’s potentially hazardous.

Protect your children with M1 Cyber Guardian 

It’s so important to remain vigilant at all times — both parents and kids — as cybercrime gets more and more sophisticated, and trickier to spot. 

With M1 Cyber Guardian, you can monitor your child’s online activities and block harmful online content by setting filters. You can also limit the time spent. For only $2.70 per month, you can add this service to your existing M1 plan. 

New subscribers get six months’ of M1 Cyber Guardian for free. Activate it now! 

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