The Internet can be a great tool for children to learn and play. However, the web also presents many risks for kids who access the Internet. Improvements in technology now allow parents to protect children from inappropriate material on the web.
Protections for children on the web
There are some rules in place to protect kids who use the Internet. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) states that a child’s personal information cannot be obtained without the parent’s approval. In addition, all websites must have privacy policies stated on their sites. COPPA also prevents sites from requiring personal information from a child to play a game or otherwise use their site.
The COPPA rules hold websites accountable for their interactions with children. However, a site may choose not to follow the guidelines. A website may also have technical issues that collect information in error. Parents still need to take steps to protect kids on the web.
Tips for Internet protection
Parents can use a password manager to control user names and passwords for all Internet use, including use on a mobile device. This technology allows all of the password activity to be encrypted. Encryption reduces the risk that a cybercriminal can access your passwords.
You can also work with your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to set up parental controls. These controls allow you to track online activity and block websites with inappropriate content.
Another aspect of Internet safety is education. Teach your child how keywords are entered and how to look at search results. Explain how to set up bookmarks to access frequently used websites.
Insist that young children access the web on a PC that is in a common area of your home, such as the kitchen. This will help you monitor their Internet use.
Advances in technology allow a homeowner to have access to several types of content at once. DIRECTV in New York can offer hundreds of channels of Direct TV, Internet access and On Demand movies to a home from a single provider.
To protect children, parents need to consider controls over TV and movies, as well as Internet access. Work with your TV and Internet providers to set block inappropriate content and set up parental controls.
A growing number of users do their Internet searches on mobile devices. 80% of Internet users own a smartphone. Many parents allow their children to have mobile devices, so that the family can easily stay in touch.
This convenience also creates more risk for kids using the Internet. A mobile phone means that the child can access the web from anywhere. A parent cannot immediately monitor most of this Internet use.
It’s important to work with your phone provider to put controls in place for web use. A parent can also use technology to track the physical location of the child’s phone. This tool can help a parent monitor where the child is spending time.
All parents should monitor their child’s use of computers, TVs and mobile phones. These steps can give a parent more confidence that their child is using technology safely.