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How to Protect Your Child from Online Predators
Kids are easy targets for criminals who are constantly lurking on the internet to gain access to their prospective victims. With the amount of time kids spend online every day, they can be exposed to online predators.
As parents, it’s our job to protect our kids from potential online danger through the following ways:
1. Educate yourself
Before you can even begin to educate your child about staying safe on the internet, you need to read up on the different ways online predators work. This way, you’ll know every possible scenario and can fully educate your child about the dangers of interacting with strangers online.
2. Stop “sharenting”
Sometimes, it’s the parents themselves who end up unwittingly compromising their child’s online safety. “Sharenting” happens when parents excessively post photos and videos featuring their own kids. Many parents, as well as other adult relatives, are guilty of “sharenting” at some point.
Protect your children from online predators by limiting what you post about them online—and ask any other adults in your children’s life to do the same.
3. Create reasonable online safety rules
As much as you want to impose a strict ban on gadgets and online activities to protect your child from every single danger, it won’t solve the problem. In fact, it may only worsen the problem because your child may try to gain access to the internet without your knowledge and supervision.
Instead, create a set of reasonable rules to keep your children safe without restricting them too much:
- Don’t post your personal information (full name, home address, school, etc.) online.
- Don’t use photos that may attract attention from online predators.
- Avoid sharing photos or videos that can give online strangers clues about where you live, where you go to school, or where you hang out.
- Don’t talk to strangers (or at least not without obtaining parental consent).
- Never arrange to meet with someone you met online.
Your entire set of rules will still depend entirely on your children’s age and online activities. For instance, if your kids are old enough to use Snapchat, you need to include rules to keep them safe on that specific platform. Or if they play online games, make sure they know not to share personal details with other gamers, and that they always remember to turn the camera off before playing.
4. Discuss online safety with your children
It’s not enough to impose rules regarding your children’s online activities—you have to teach them why it’s necessary to have these rules as well. Otherwise, they may not follow them.
Take the time to explain to your children that there are bad people out there—both in the real world and in the digital world. Let your kids know that, while you’ll do everything in your power to protect them from these bad people, they still have to do their part to keep themselves safe.