Internet Safety For Kids: An Age-Based Guide

April 1st · 3 min read

As a parent, there are so many things to teach our kids about safety. Things like “Don’t talk to strangers.” and “Don’t touch a hot stove” are some of the tips our parents taught us that we’ve in-turn passed along to our children. Giving kids access to a computer, tablet, smartphone, or gaming system for entertainment or educational purposes is the new norm. It’s a great way to supplement the learning they do in school, and it gives us as parents an opportunity to have a few minutes to ourselves while our children are occupied. When it comes to Internet Safety, this isn’t an area that we’ve been able to lean on our parents for advice. Here are some important Internet Safety Rules and Tips to help you better educate your children on Internet Safety.

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For All Ages

  • Keep lines of communication open so that you can ask your child about their Internet usage, and they feel comfortable coming to you with any questions or concerns about their experiences online.
  • Set parental controls at age-appropriate levels and activate browser protection to protect them from scams, malware, and malicious code.
  • Supervise all Internet-enabled devices and keep these devices in a public area of the home; do not allow children to have computers, tablets, or cell phones in their bedrooms where activities are easily hidden.
  • Make sure they understand that they should never interact with people they don’t know offline as online predators and cyberbullies can easily disguise themselves.
  • Regularly check the browser history on your child’s devices to see which websites your child frequents.

For 2 to 4-Year-Olds

  • Always sit with your child while they use a computer.
  • Teach basic computer skills by helping your child play age-appropriate educational games.

For 5 to 7-Year-Olds

  • Continue to sit with your child while they use a computer.
  • Use kid-friendly search engines, like Google’s Safe Search Kids.
  • Start teaching kids about privacy. Make sure they understand not to provide information about themselves or their families online.
  • Have your child use an online nickname when asked to submit their name to “personalize” their web content.
  • Block use of instant messaging, email, chat rooms, and picture/video messaging.
  • If your child uses a mobile device, ensure that it is one intended for children.
Clean up your browser and prevent future scams

Protect yourself and loved ones from online threats, begin with a free scan.

For 8 to 10-Year-Olds

  • Keep Internet-connected devices in a high-traffic room of the home so their online activities can be monitored.
  • Activate age-appropriate parental controls.
  • Establish a shared family email account that allows your child to use email but under close supervision.
  • Get to know your child’s online activities and who they interact with.
  • Teach your kids to always come to you first, before sharing information through email, messages boards, registration forms, profiles, or online contests.

Kids 2

For 11 to 13-Year-Olds

  • Continue to keep Internet-connected devices in a high-traffic room of the home so their online activities can be monitored.
  • Continue to implement parental controls at an age-appropriate level.
  • Instruct your child to avoid face-to-face meetings with anyone they only know online.
  • Online friends may not always be who they claim to be.
  • Require children to provide you with their usernames and passwords for any online accounts they use to make sure they aren’t talking to strangers.
  • Limit instant messaging to a parent-approved list of friends.
  • Talk to your kids about their behavior online. They should not spread gossip, bully, or threaten others.
  • Limit time online.
  • Do not allow your child to have online profiles on social networking sites.

For 14 to 18-Year-Olds

  • Continue to keep Internet-connected devices in a high-traffic room of the home so their online activities can be monitored.
  • Continue to implement parental controls at an age-appropriate level.
  • Teach your teen to protect their personal information by not providing their email address online or responding to junk mail.
  • Continue discussing acceptable behavior online. They should not spread gossip, bully, or threaten others.
  • File-sharing, copying text, and copying images on the web may infringe on copyright laws.
  • Do periodic spot checks on their browser history to ensure that their use of the Internet aligns with the rules that you provided to them.

Most importantly, have an open and honest relationship that encourages conversation on what they are doing online, what they see, or what their friends are doing.

Clean up your browser and prevent future scams

Protect yourself and loved ones from online threats, begin with a free scan.

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