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Internet Safety

By Lindsey J. Hauser, Psy.D.

Internet Safety image

Kids are always connected! Laptops, tablets, smart phones and iPods make the Internet accessible at any time and almost anywhere. From Facebook to Pinterest, or whatever social site pops up next month, parents need to know how to keep their kids safe while online.

Understanding the Basics

Media, more specifically, the Internet is everywhere! In today’s day and age, media devices will play a major role in how your child gathers information and communicates with others.

It is fairly common that parents feel overwhelmed because of the difficulty keeping up with constantly changing technology. Although there is no specific age for a child to start using the Internet, once a parent observes their child taking interest, Boys Town Center for Behavioral Health suggests parents talk to their child about internet basics, such as:

  • Navigating the Internet safely
  • Keeping passwords and personal information private
  • Sharing too much information online
  • The risks of chat room conversation

Protecting Your Child Online

As a parent, it is essential to explore the Internet with your child to help him or her understand its function. Establishing expectations and limits from the start can help parents monitor their child’s activity online. Parents cannot constantly monitor their child’s internet activity, but establishing online rules can help balance the stressors of Internet use. Boys Town Center for Behavioral Health recommends:

  • Keeping the computer in a common area
  • Blocking access to chartrooms and filtering web content
  • Obtaining passwords or “friend-ing” your child so that social media pages are more easily monitored
  • Setting limits to time spent engaging in media/online activity

When to Seek Help

If you notice your child is spending extended periods of time on the Internet, not following previously set media guidelines, if social media is your child’s only outlet, or if this is your child’s only avenue to meet new people visit with your health care provider.​