Helping Your Child Get Started Online Safely

21778358_mIt is inevitable. Unless you find a way to retreat from modern society entirely, your child is going to use the internet whether you like it or not, and probably before she learns to read and write. The good news is that your child can reap enormous benefits from appropriate internet usage, and by getting involved, you can direct this experience, and help keep your child, and yourself, safe.

Some Tips for Getting Started

  • Spend time online with your child. Walk the through getting started on the sites that interest them, and learn how these sites work with them.
  • Choose age and skill appropriate sites for children who have not learned to read or are still learning. There are sites with audio instructions and easy to identify symbols for pre-readers.
  • Teach your child to recognize online ads, and not to click on them.
  • Help your child choose smart passwords that they can remember, but aren’t so obvious that others can easily guess them.
  • Teach your child about the dangers of sharing passwords.
  • Do not give your child your credit card information. Always enter it for them yourself. Consider using a prepaid credit card or one that is reserved for your child’s internet use and has a low spending limit, just in case someone does gain access to your child’s account or your child does not understand when they are authorizing a purchase.
  • Establish a precedent from day one. Monitor what your child does online and let your child know you are doing it. Make it a comfortable and normal thing, so it doesn’t come across as snooping or invasive, and explain that it is not for the purpose of spying on your child but to keep them and your whole family safe from strangers and predators.