Keeping up with kids is difficult and keeping up with changing technology that affects them can really leave you feeling overwhelmed. We know no kid is better behaved and honest than yours. But they are a curious lot and no matter how great they may be, they still are likely going to go poking around online when given the opportunity.
Three misconceptions come down to trust, online safety methods, and thinking kids know more than parents about technology.
You may be able to trust your kids, but you can't trust the Internet. There are a lot of scary things out there and malware is probably one of the least to worry about. Online predators are real and dangerous. They are sneaky and can take advantage of the fact that a kid’s brain does not fully form until their 20s. Scammers are lurking around every corner trying to get any information that may lead them to a payoff and malware hides behind all sorts of links, including advertisements that seem harmless. Teach your kids how to make the right choices.
Be sure to have a frank conversation with kids about online security. Start as soon as they start using computers or smartphones. Explain that they should never reveal their names or address, any sensitive data or otherwise without asking permission from a parent first.
Learn the sites they like to visit and what they are all about. Make their social networks your hangout, too, and create a “village” to help keep an eye on them. No matter how trustworthy they are, you still need to monitor the roads they go down. It’s just like making them clean their rooms: if you aren’t there to monitor the activity, it probably won't be done the correct way.
Take the time to learn new technologies that are all the rage. Don’t assume that you can’t figure it out. However, if you truly cannot, ask for help. This includes learning how to use their mobile devices.