The Essential Guide to Protecting Your Child’s Privacy Online

Tim Woda is an Internet and mobile safety expert and co-founder of uKnow.com, creator of Parental Intelligence Systems that make digital parenting easier and keep kids safe.

Parenting is always challenging, and sometimes parents are divided on different topics. One of those topics that can be divisive and is highly talked about is internet safety. Today, children of all ages are exposed to the internet through school and friends. Even as young as kindergarten children are being taught classes on technology, including internet search engines. Those who provide information, games and other media online know it too. Children are targets of marketing campaigns, statistical data and more.

While the Internet Crimes Against Children task force works on the side of catching criminals who prey on our tweens and teens, it is still important for parents to come up with your own safeguards to protect your children. This may be difficult if you as parents don’t necessarily see eye to eye on internet monitoring or security.

In a USA Today article quotes these statistics:
  • 70% of parents monitor their children’s activities on the internet and social media accounts
  • 46% of parents have password access to their children’s social media accounts and email
  • 30% do not monitor their children at all, stating they trust their children or that they have their own limited skills on the internet
So, how do you ensure internet safety for kids? Monitoring is a key component of internet safety. As parents you set the expectations of your children’s activity on the internet by example as well as by in home rules. Whether you are in the 70% or not, educating your children about predators on the internet is a conversation that should occur. Children need to know that not everyone is who they present themselves on the internet. Additionally, personal information is personal. Opening the door to communication with your child is key. When they have questions, your children will want to feel comfortable in coming to you. When you sit with your child, there are tools available for you to access, as well as tools designed specifically for your kids.

The FBI has a Kids Safety page specifically on the topic of internet safety for kids, designed for kids to give them safeguards to use. These safeguards include warnings about contact with “strangers” online, and sharing personal information.

The Federal Trade Commission offers an informative page for parents on guidelines that are in place to protect your children while online. This information includes COPPA, which is the rule “put in place to protect kids’ personal information on websites and online services — including apps — that are directed to children under 13. The Rule also applies to a general audience site that knows it’s collecting personal information from kids that age.” While COPPA is important, it is designed for protection of children under the age of 13. Teens are more internet savvy, they are also just as vulnerable to predators as those under the age of 13.

There are predators on the internet just as real as the predators that carouse school yards and parks. It is the responsibility of you as parents to make decisions about safety at home, internet safety for kids and guidelines for children to move in the world around us.

Fortunately there are also tools available to protect your children when you cannot be there to monitor, such as Parental Intelligence Systems. These advanced systems can monitor mobile phones, social media and can even provide a GPS locator. Utilizing a dashboard, parents have the ability to review and actively monitor activity done by their children.

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