The COVID-19 crisis has us staying home to stay safe. But the threat to our children from online predators is present like ever before. To stay in touch, many children are being introduced to social media and video chat for the first time. At the same time, online predators are looking to take advantage of vulnerable children. That is a perfect time to talk with your kids about online safety.
Supervision and communication are the keys to protecting your child from online exploitation.
1. Spend time with your child online. Have them show you their favorite online destinations and review any profiles they may have posted online.
2. Keep the computer where you can see it. Avoid giving access to a computer or mobile device in a child’s bedroom until you’re confident they can use them safely and responsibly.
3. Use parental controls. Limit access to sites that allow contact with strangers. If you allow access these sites, make sure your child understands the risks of interacting with people they don’t know and trust in real life.
4. Keep the lines of communication open. Responsible internet use is part of growing up and your child needs to feel comfortable coming to you for help and guidance.
You are keeping your child safe by keeping them at home. Remember to do everything you can to keep them safe at home.
Peter Deegan, Jr.
Northern District of Iowa