It generally isn’t easy to keep your kids safe online so follow this guide on Keeping Your College Kids Safe Online.
However, it’s a bit more realistic keeping your college age kids safe online while they live at home.
But what to do when they go off to college?
Sure, you cannot control every their move – but you still can do your best to help them feel safer online.
Here’s what you can do to achieve that.
1. Build the trust
It’s the simplest and the most basic rule for everyone who wants to protect their children.
There’s no way to do that if they don’t trust you enough to listen to you and to take your tips into consideration.
The most important part here is not to push too hard.
You should also remember that your children have their own personal space now, both offline and online, and most likely don’t want it to be invaded by you.
Therefore, be careful, take it slow, and explain your concerns to make it easier for both of you.
2. Tell them which information is safe to share
Sure, for college kids it’s different than for secondary school age groups.
They know people better and don’t trust them easily.
However, even at their age they could be found and stalked by some online predators.
That’s why you need to speak to them about it, telling them to be mindful of sharing personal information online.
It’s also important to remind them that sharing certain information could hurt them even when they aren’t stalked by online predators.
We all contribute to our image and reputation by posting things online, so it’s crucial to ensure that your child won’t post anything on social media that would harm them in the future when they’ll be looking for a job or for an internship.
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3. Remind them about the importance of critical thinking
The internet is filled with information these days.
What is even worse, the internet is filled with all kinds of advice, good and bad.
So sometimes approaching the data critically is not simply important – it’s crucial.
You probably wouldn’t want your kid to try out some suspicious diet or do something else that might harm them.
Therefore, remind them how important it is to think critically – and teach them critical thinking if they didn’t master it before.
4. Talk to them about cyberbullying
Sadly, cyberbullying happens a lot.
And there’s a chance, even if a small one, that your child will find themselves being a victim or even a bully.
Though there isn’t a clear way to prevent that from happening, there are some effective ways to deal with that.
If you want to protect your children from the online abuse, you can educate them on cyberbullying and show them resources that could help them deal with those kinds of situations.
Also, it’s crucial to react to it right and not to shut away your child if they decide to talk to you about cyberbullying.
To some people, this still seems like no big deal, mostly because it happens online and not in a physical world.
However, the consequences of cyberbullying can be as massive and terrifying as the consequences of offline bullying.
5. Teach them how to avoid scams
There are plenty of people and organizations who are eager to scam others for money online.
Just like with cyberbullying, it isn’t always possible to spot a scammer or to prevent scam – but it’s still worth trying.
Talk to your child about the scam, tell them about the most popular scamming techniques and about the signs that might show a person is a scammer.
Be sure not to overdo though: it’s okay for children to purchase things and order services online.
In fact, it often can save them time and money (like when they purchase used college books).
However, it never hurts to double check the information and to google the testimonials about a company when in doubt.
6. Be there for them
That is another important thing to do.
Sure, educating your children is important – but even in this case, something unpleasant might happen.
It’s important to react to such situations right and to remember that even when your child is educated, they still might not be prepared for everything that might happen.
So if your child comes to you complaining that something has happened, you should simply be there for them.
Support them and help them solve a problem if there is any.
Remember: it’s important to keep the conversation flowing.
That’s the main sign that you managed to build a trustworthy relationship with your child.
The internet is huge.
It has many perks but it has many threats as well.
You might not know about every one of them and might not face some of them at all.
Still, it’s important to educate your children and to teach them how to behave online and what to avoid.
How are you keeping your college kids safe online?
Maybe you too have some tips to share with us?
Please do so in the comments below.
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Author Bio: Sophia is a creative writer currently working on several projects including Custom-Writings. In her free time, she enjoys writing fiction as well as reading it. Her big dream is to publish a book one day. Connect with her on G+.