Schools Are Getting Serious about Keeping Kids Safe Online, Protecting Students from the Worst Predators as They Explore Hybrid Learning Models. Are You Ready?
Schools may be going back to in-person classes, but that doesn’t mean that the days of online learning are over. Kids will still be expected to do online homework projects, participate in group chats, and quite possibly, endure more pandemic related quarantines. After running the gauntlet with online learning in 2020, schools are more serious than ever about keeping kids safe online, and protecting students from cyberbullying, accessing inappropriate material, or giving away personal or sensitive information, as a start. Do you know how to keep your kids safe online?
As a provider of managed IT services, we here at Integris have some wisdom to offer on the topic.
How to Keep Your Kids Safe Online: Our Tips
#1—Keep Track of Your Child’s Passwords
This can be a daunting task, we know. It seems like every schoolyear comes with a long list of passwords that have to be managed, and especially for small kids, this can be hard. Please keep in mind that these passwords ensure that predators aren’t lurking around, watching your kids while they take their classes or do their homework. If your child is old enough to have a phone, install a password vault and teach them how to use it. And for younger children, teach them how to come up with a password that can’t be easily guessed. Make sure they never share their password with anyone, friends or strangers. Never store their passwords in a written book that they carry with the computer. If a thief steals the bag with the laptop and the passwords, they’ll have everything they need to steal your child’s identity. If you want to know how to keep your kids safe online, this part is key internet hygiene.
#2—Practice Safe Zooming
There are very specific privacy regulations around the use of Zoom classes. Teachers are allowed to record lessons and play them over online conferencing apps like Zoom. However, they are not allowed to record any part of the class where the children are shown or participating. Your shouldn’t be recording, either. f you or your child is using the record button for future reference, be sure to turn it off when the children come up on screen.
#3—Work with Web Filtering
The good news is, your school systems have a whole host of cloud based software for keeping kids safe online, protecting students from the worst sites on the Internet. When using a school issued computer, these sophisticated web filters will ensure that they are pulling up age appropriate information on the internet. Though it’s getting far harder to do, some students are getting wise to workarounds for the systems. So familiarize yourself with how your child’s computer works. You’ll be able to see when they’re not using the system properly. Or, if they’re working online at home on your computers, make sure they are surfing the web through the approved portals at school.
#4 Keep Devices Where You Can See Them
If you want to know how to keep your kids safe online, there really isn’t any substitute for physical vigilance. Set up a place in your living room or kitchen where kids can study quietly, and you can clearly see what’s on their screen while you’re doing other things, like making dinner, or doing chores. A little deterrence can go a long way.
#5—Tell Websites to Stop Selling Your Child’s Data
The good news is, there are federal laws on the books that keep websites and online merchants from selling the data of customers/users under the age of 13. The bad news is, the law can be unevenly enforced. If you suspect that the websites your child might be visiting or buying products from might be selling your child’s data, there’s something you can do about. Common Sense Media offers these forms you can fill out and send to the companies involved.
#6—Know Where Your Kids Are Surfing on the Web, and Who They’re Talking To
In many respects your child’s online life is very similar to their real one. You need to know what your kids are up to online. Kids haven’t yet learned the critical thinking skills it takes to spot catfishing, scams and more on the net. So always make sure your kids online friends are the real deal. Ask to see them on screen. If you’re keeping the computer in a central location, you’ll be able to see how they interact with your child online. It’s a key part of keeping your kids safe online.
#7—Educate Your Children on the Threats
You teach your child to look both ways when they walk down the street. Teaching your child about internet safety is a lot like this, but just adjusted for the digital age. The online world is one your child must learn to navigate safely. Teach them common sense street smarts on the web, including:
- Not to make purchases on the internet, even free downloads, without consulting you first
- Not to join an online forum or chat room without clearing it with you first
- Never to give out personal information like their name, address, age, or where they go to school
- Never to give their location where they are, where they are headed, or let people know when the family is going on vacation or will be away from home for extended periods
- Stay away from emails from people or companies they don’t know, especially if they contain links
- Never open up a link in an email unless it is one you are specifically expecting from someone you know
- Not to accept friend requests on social media from people you don’t know in real life
- Not to accept bullying behavior from anyone on the internet, and to report it to school officials or to you if they are ever mistreated online
How to Keep Your Kids Safe Online? Do Your Homework.
With schools placing more emphasis on cyber safety, and improving their tools, parents have a true ally in the war to keep kids safe online. A little diligence and education can help your family enjoy the fruits the digital age has brought education.
If you want to learn more ways you can keep your kids protected online, take a look at our latest blogs on back to school safety tips and tech tips and gadgets for safe kids. And, of course, if you’re looking to take a deep dive on how to keep your company safe from cyber thieves, look no farther than our comprehensive Cybersecurity Essentials Kit. Download it now!