Unmonitored online chats
That’s why it’s important to follow the accounts that follow your child.To begin with, if they are strangers or people posting inappropriate content, you can see what your child sees and tell him or her to block them. Everything is great in moderation — especially the Internet.In fact, gaming consoles have progressed a long way from the Nintendos of our youth.“Almost every game allows you to interact with others,” says Colon.
“We try to get parents to start these conversations and lessons early,” says Ju’Riese Colon, the executive director of external affairs for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Almost everyone knows smartphones can take photos and videos, and computers can do, well, almost anything, but parents are often surprised what other devices can do.For parents who don’t know where to begin these conversations, the center has a program called Net Smartz that’s designed to help kids ages five to 18 stay safe online, whether that’s on a smartphone, in a chat room, or while gaming. “If you’re going to put it in your children’s hands, get to know it a little bit, get to know its abilities, whether it’s a gaming device, a cellphone, something that streams music, or an e-book reader,” says Colon.For instance, parents who aren’t very tech-savvy may not know that Kindles can surf the web, or that Xbox One gaming consoles support Skype video chatting.The Parental Controls preference on Macs and Windows computers can also keep children on the straight and narrow, as well.Parents reading this who feel like there’s a lack of quick tricks and shortcuts to keeping their kids safe online may be overlooking the common thread throughout these five tips: communication.