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The Internet is an endless labyrinth full of potential threats. As parents, our duty is to lead them to a better path towards a safer online experience, while protecting them from online predators and catfishes, as well as vulgar content, misinformation, and cyberattacks. 

In celebration of Safer Internet Day, Cyberzone lists down some useful tips to create and cultivate a safer online environment for our children.

Talk to them

The goal here is to prepare your kids in facing the overwhelming vastness of the Internet and to make them understand that not everything they see online is useful and safe. Don’t be afraid to show them the ugly side of the Webisphere. 

Start their Internet crash course by discussing the dos and don’ts of online interaction. Give them notes on the basics of Internet usage, language, etiquettes. It’s also a must to educate them about privacy and Internet security early at this stage. The Internet can be a dangerous place, so it’s never too early to teach your child the importance of safeguarding their passwords and other sensitive information.

Set ground rules

Setting ground rules for Internet usage will help your kids grasp the idea of responsible Internet usage. This also help them develop their own digital habits and embrace a healthier online routine. It can be as simple as “Dinner time means offline”, or as stringent as following strict “Internet curfews”. And since kids are curious by nature, this is the part where you need to set restrictions in terms of the apps and websites they usually visit. Manage their expectations by having a list of acceptable websites they’re allowed to visit.

For additional measures, there are a handful of #TechAssured routers available at SM Cyberzone that have smart connect features and parental controls for blocking restricted websites and set offline schedules to regulate screen time.


Involve yourself

Somewhere along the way, kids may have come across unfortunate encounters with predators, catfishes, hackers, and cyberbullies without them even knowing it. Involve yourself as much as you can by means of constant monitoring of their online activities, as well as their friends list within their social media circles. Should they refuse to be monitored, just tell them it’s part of the conditions they’ve agreed upon prior to giving them online access. 

In turn, always be prepared to listen. Encourage them to confide in you should they run into unusual online activities along the way. Remember that they’re still learning the ropes of the online world, and you’ll never know what goes through your child’s mind unless you establish healthy communication with them. Above all, empower them with knowledge on how to deal with and protect themselves against potential online intruders and cyberbullies.

Keep up with the technology

Part of the parent’s duty is to know the latest tech trends. More often than not, security breaches occur on outdated devices and software, since they are no longer supported by OS and security updates due to compatibility issues. Check your child’s devices if the version is still covered by subsequent updates. Otherwise, that’s your cue to invest in new gear. When in doubt, you can always visit your trusted computer stores in the Philippines for recommendations. 

Same goes for apps, operating systems, software, and online platforms they’re using. Make sure the Privacy Policy and Terms of Conditions are up-to-date. Download security patches if applicable and available through their official website to reduce online vulnerability. 

Be proactive

“The best defense is a good offense”, they say. Stay vigilant and proactive in terms of continuous research about Internet security. Keep a closer eye on your kid’s online searches. The Web has no shortage of inappropriate content, so make it a point to switch the SafeSearch features on. It’s also a great idea to install a Virtual Private Network (VPN) on all your devices to maintain anonymity, especially when browsing in public Wi-Fi networks.

When it comes to posting online, teach them the “think before you click” mantra. Monitor their social timelines including their comments and even blog entries, if available. Call them out if you see posts that are too private or too sensitive to divulge.

The Internet can be harsh at times, and it doesn’t always guarantee a smooth-sailing browsing experience. Who knows what your kids may stumble upon while surfing the Web, so it’s best to equip them with the right knowledge, tools, and skill set to maintain a safer online space for them. 

For additional security fortification, visit your nearest SM Cyberzone branch to get the latest online security solutions and programs. LIKE, FOLLOW, and SUBSCRIBE to our channels for more online safety tips.

 

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