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10 Ways to Keep Kids Safe Online

Think it’s still the Wild West out there on the internet? In many ways, you’d be right: Literally thousands of new services, apps and social networks go online (as do as many high-tech devices) with each passing year. Luckily, as many parents who’ve grown up alongside technology can attest, if you teach your kids a few simple safety and privacy habits, the ability to connect with others worldwide can be a positive and uplifting part of childhood and everyday household life.

Scott Steinberg, author of the recently released book “Parenting High-Tech Kids: The Ultimate Internet, Web & Online Safety Guide” has put together a Top 10 List of ways to keep kids safe online.

Click here for the Kindle version of the book.

10 Ways to Keep Your Kids Safe Online

  1. Homework is for parents, too: Always study, research and go-hands on with new technologies to make more informed decisions and keep up with new hardware, software or feature updates.
  2. If time’s tight, get a crash course on new offerings, trends and features by visiting popular product review sites or searching for online tutorials, e.g. “How to Turn Off iPhone Purchases.”
  3. Besides employing kid-friendly software, apps and web filters, educate children on online dangers and encourage them to speak up when questionable content or situations are encountered.
  4. Use the parental controls built into popular entertainment devices, video game consoles and operating systems, and don’t forget to password-protect your settings—but don’t employ easily guessable choices like birthdays and anniversaries.
  5. Activate privacy features built into popular social networks to limit strangers’ access to personal status updates, photos and videos. Don’t assume they’re set appropriately by default.
  6. Confine screens to common household areas such as playrooms and dens, so usage and play habits can be monitored.
  7. Establish predetermined times when usage of high-tech devices is permitted or banned (e.g. during dinner), and always shut screens off at least one hour before bedtime.
  8. Create and enforce house rules: Experts recommend no more than 60-120 minutes of screen time daily, balanced with other low-tech activities. Some families add or subtract time as a reward or punishment for children’s behavior.
  9. If you’re worried about kids’ online interactions, use programs’ and devices’ built-in features to turn off internet connectivity, disable digital purchases and restrict interactions to pre-approved friend lists.
  10. Talk about safe online spending, and if you allow kids to make purchases, consider restricting these abilities to prepaid cards.

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