It’s not enough to secure your home devices and the internet to make them safe for kids to use. You also need to set expectations and talk about internet safety.
This is one of those parenting things that kids honestly just think you are being overprotective about, but it’s actually one of the biggest dangers they face.
Even if you think you have everything on lockdown and there is no possible way to get through all of the security measures you have put in place – think again. Even the best child protection software has ways to bypass, even if just for a short time.
I was a software developer at the time I began letting my children use the internet unsupervised, probably earlier than most since I thought I knew how to secure my home. It was also 15 years ago before social media became yet another concern.
Boy, I believed I had thought of everything. I had the best software, I talked to them regularly about internet safety, I enhanced my firewall protection and even set up custom blocking protocols.
My guess is, at least some of you don’t know how to implement half of what I just said. Fortunately, I was a programmer so I could navigate my way through it. Unfortunately for me – there were things I didn’t think about and apparently the child safety software developers and firewall developers didn’t think of either.
So, don’t feel bad!
In my instance, I found my son looking at content I had clearly blocked in more than one way. Had I not caught him viewing it, I would have never known as I regularly reviewed is internet activity reports and even updated security as I felt necessary.
After talking with him I learned that first, he became exposed to it at a friend’s house. His friend had also shared with him how he got around his parent’s safety protocols. They were using tunnel sites. Which pop up frequently and often. One of MANY ways to bypass your home security settings.
Long story short, your children will not always just be at home when they have access to the internet and no matter how safe you think your home is – they can find ways around it. If you’re wondering how old my son was, he was only nine years old!
The reasons above, among many others, are why you can’t just try to control their environment. Even if you don’t have any access to the internet at all in your home. They also need you to talk to them about internet safety and why it is important.
It’s also vital that it is a two-way conversation so if they do become exposed to something they will feel like they can talk to you about it. Be honest with your kids about why it is important. Simply saying we don’t allow it and you’ll get in trouble is NOT going to keep them from doing it.
Stay tuned for a more in-depth article on how to speak to them about internet safety.