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Keeping Kids Safe Online

As parents in 2019, you have to worry about two worlds. One is the real world that all parents before us have dealt with—the one with busy streets, bullies, and heartbreak. The other is much more complex: the online world. How can you address an issue that’s so ingrained in our daily lives?

Use parental controls.

If your kids are very young and don’t fully grasp right and wrong, use parental controls. It’s less about whether or not you trust them and more about the reality of getting out ahead of the natural curiosity of kids. And check your child’s search history regularly.

Keep your passwords private.

Especially if you are sharing devices, do not save your passwords. Make sure kids cannot access accounts that have personal or financial information. Be aware of your device settings for in-app purchases or one-click buying to avoid racking up a large sum in your child’s purchases. 

Keep the computer and devices in a shared space.

If your kids have their own devices, don’t let your kids take them into their rooms. If it is a shared device, make sure you’re keeping it in a shared space. That will help you keep an eye on what they’re looking at, as well as affirming to them that what they do online is not a secret.

Set and stick to rules.

Give your child a schedule for when and where they can use the devices. Make sure they understand to never give personal information online. Keep a bookmarked list of the sites that are okay for them to visit on their own. Whatever rules work for your family, make sure they are clearly communicated and enforced.

Don’t make technology the bad guy.

Kids can be easily exposed to the entire world in the palm of their small hands. While that can be scary, the answer isn’t to close every door. Realize the positives of the digital realm, and focus on that. Online they can find education or breed special interests. Instead of trying to pretend that the internet doesn’t exist at all, make it safer by enforcing these rules. 

In a world of scrolling content, it can be intimidating to try and navigate your way to keep your kids safe from everything. But just like with everything else, the key isn’t to eliminate the problem; it’s to effectively establish the rules and give your kids the power to do the right thing.

Kat’s Money Corner is posted in the Kansas City Star every week. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, follow us on Twitter @CommunityAmerCU.

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