How to Promote Online Safety for Minors
How many of us have taken note of the early age children now access the internet? What if I told you it is not uncommon for infants and toddlers in the U.S. to be given access to the internet? The relationship with infants, toddlers and the internet can begin with things that seem harmless, like accessing lullaby’s on YouTube, or providing a toddler with content on an iPad or other tablet device where ABC Mouse and Disney are readily available and often entertaining. Now, how many of us who provide internet access to children have trained them in the safe usage of the internet or know anything about safe usage? I suspect the number of persons who answer yes to the last two questions is relatively low. Let me provide you with some tools to help prepare you for early training, and constant reminders as we let our children access the internet.
First and foremost, why is safety on the internet important to minor? The internet is a shared space, literally meaning all users are in one place. Consider it a neighborhood with a daycare next to a nuclear waste plant, next to a restaurant and a church. Neighbors, pastors, children, child pornographers, politicians, cyberbullies all occupy the same digital space. Strangers are dangerous in person or on the internet. This is just a summary of the why, let us look at the how of internet safety.
What Are Some General Guidelines for Parents to Teach Internet Safety to Kids?
Many parents find it helpful to set down clear rules for their children to follow. The US Department of Justice recommends clear rules to help guide children to understand potential risks and dangerous situations. Examples of rules include:
- Turn of location services on social media applications.
- Do not disclose personal information such as full name, address, phone number, social security number, etc.
- No posting your picture on public sites of any kind
- No chatting with strangers
- Consider designing formal Internet usage agreements or “contracts” with your children
- Tell kids if they come across material that makes them scared, uncomfortable or confused to tell their parent or another trusted adult
How Can We Use Technology to Protect Children? 
Filtering technology is usually a software that screens out some content while allowing other material to flow through to its intended destination. Parents can set up various filters to block harmful material. Filtering technology comes in several forms:
- User/Client-side filters: Users install filters on their own computers. Parents can employ these to set up the kinds of materials that they want to block.
- Content-limits/Content-filters from Internet Service Providers (ISPs): Internet Service Providers often offer this option to block content.
- Search engine filters: Many search engines enable users to turn on the safety filter that limits search results to appropriate material. Note, most search engine filters do not block access to content if a surfer directly types in a URL. Other search enginesoffer special children’s versions of their search engines that permit searches of only child-friendly sites.
Monitoring technology allows parents to supervise children’s Internet activity by reporting on their surfing activity. Keystroke software will make a record of all of the keystrokes that a user makes.
Consider an app like Bark: Bark Analyzes text, emails, social media and then sends you concerning content along with suggestions on how to address the situation and talking points. You must have device to install OR the user must accept all push notifications to connect with all social media, text, and email platforms.
Consider downloading something like Qustodio: With Qustodia you can see what websites are visited, block dangerous content, see communications, protect privacy, manage how and when to be online. Automatically reports activity back to you and has a dashboard where you can view and manager online activity.
Tracking Web History
Parents can review the browser “history” file to see sites that have been most recently visited by that browser. However, technically skilled users can edit or delete all of these records.
Create age restrictions and adhere to these restrictions.
It is my hope that this article will bring useful, practical information to you and your families and make your browsing experience a bit safer for you and your children. I look forward to future opportunities to share information with you.
 See USJDOJ Children Energy Safety for more details
Posted byon 11 Dec 2020