Internet Safety Tips for the Family | TX Internet Provider | GVTC

Keeping your family safe from modern dangers

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We live in interesting times where some three-year-olds are still not potty trained, but they sure know how to unlock your phone and access the Baby Shark song on YouTube®. Today, there's a 100% chance your kids have been on the internet, and while it can be an awesome resource of information, it can quickly become every parent's nightmare if not used with caution.

Just because kids know how to access apps and sites doesn't mean they should. Because no matter how much you trust them, children lack the critical thinking skills to be left alone with these devices. You spend a lot of time making sure their surroundings are safe, but shouldn't that also include their online practices? At GVTC, we understand the importance of protecting those you love most, so we've put together a handy guide of internet safety tips to help you sleep better at night knowing your family is safe and sound.

The Obvious

Let's start with what we're most familiar with: the type of content your kids are exposedLittle boy protects his sister from watching inappropriate content while using a computer. Internet safety for kids concept. Toned image with selective focus to. Little ones will take whatever media they see at face value, so all internet safety tips should start with blocking adult content.

It's not only about preserving their innocence – Explicit content online doesn't always reflect reality. It's still showbiz after all... Do you really want your child growing up with a jaded view of what physical beauty looks like? We bet not! Fortunately, there are plenty of options that allow you to enable parental controls such as your device's operating system, 3rd party apps, and browsers.

Stranger Danger & Privacy

Even scarier than what your kids see on the internet is who can see your kids on the internet. Depending on your child's age, you may want to remove the possibility of them talking to a stranger hiding behind a friendly face by restricting social networking apps and sites from your devices in your password-protected parental control settings. If that seems like a band-aid fix for your tech-savvy kid to bypass, there are many more options to securing their internet safety.

For starters... have you talked with them? No, not that talk.... the one about being safe online. Even if you set up password-protected controls and monitor their online behavior, there are factors outside of your control such as their friends' unrestricted access to the internet. If this is the case, the internet safety tips below are sure to protect your kids from stranger danger:

  • Do they have friends on social media they don't know? If so, they've got to go! Emphasize the importance of keeping a social network of only those you trust, and monitor their ‘online friends' for any suspicious connections.

  • Encourage your kids to think twice before sharing anything. Talk to them about what types of posts are appropriate and which ones are not. After all, what you share on the internet can last forever and things are never truly deleted.

  • Privacy settings are key to internet safety for kids. Don't share personal information and be sure to disable GPS on apps you don't trust. GPS doesn't just let you find your way home; it also allows others to find you.

  • Use strong passwords, ideally a different one for every site or app. Don't ever share them, not even with their BFFs.

  • Teach them how to discern the credibility of a site and not to believe everything they read on the internet. False information is ever-present and can pose an even bigger threat to their maturing minds as they begin to process what they read to form their own opinions and stances on current issues.

Phishing & Malware Warning

Little girl touching the security button on the digital screen - stock photoWhile the first thing that comes to mind when picturing the dark side of the web is likely predators and adult content, there are so many other not-so-obvious smart internet practices you need to consider when protecting your kids and your home.

Be on guard with gaming and any violent-natured content. Emulating behavior seen out on the world is common among children, especially when they're young and if such behavior is exhibited by someone they idolize, such as their favorite gaming character or online influencer. Block those damaging sites with the same parental blocks that are used to block sexual content, by rating, keywords, and other features.

Another rule of thumb that is so apparent to you, but can be overlooked by kids is the need to always use security software and firewalls, even on phones. Phishing and malware attacks are a real thing, and you don't want your child's information in the wrong hands. Talk to them about recognizing a secure website, making sure website URLs start with "https://" and always keep their device's OS updated as a good strategy to keep fraudsters away.

Spending Habits

You wouldn't hand your kids your credit card without cause, so make sure they don't have spending access to it from their phones. Google "Children in-app game charges," and you'll find many stories about parents surprised with hundreds to thousands, yes, thousands of dollars in charges from in-app purchases their kids made playing games like Candy Crush.

Luckily, operating systems like Apple have settings that allow you to restrict not just their spending power on their phones or password-protected charges from your personal device, they also let you restrict their ability to download and install new apps as well. You can even set up alerts so that you know the exact time little Tommy tries to download the one app you said he couldn't have due to their risky privacy policy.

Time - More valuable than money

Screen Time has become the new candy. What some parents now use as a negotiation tool to keep their kids well-behaved is also now a danger to their development. Psychology Today discussed recent research that suggests high amounts of screen-time affect children's brain development...and not in a good way.

Internet safety relates to more than just external factors now. With physiological concerns thrown into the mix, it's more important than ever to protect your kids from bad habits. Think about how many hours your kids spend on their devices. Most kids nowadays can spend hours or even days playing games, talking to their friends, and watching YouTube videos without a single break. So, whether you want to limit their time online to 1-2 hours each day, or simply shut off their WiFi access during bedtime, you can set up similar controls through your OS settings, 3rd party apps, and even your WiFi Mesh Capable router.

Tackle Internet Safety with GVTC

It's a weight off anyone's shoulders when you can tackle a problem together rather than alone. It's even better when the load off encompasses technology that may be outside your realm of expertise. GVTC understands the importance of internet safety for the whole family and wants to provide the best possible services to make it easy for you.

Our newest product, GVTC Premium WiFi, has built-in parental controls that give you complete access and control over your home - and kids. Through the GVTC WiFi App, you can manage who's connected to your WiFi, passwords, network names, and even create profiles for each child for each of their devices. This way, there's only one driver in the home seat - you. And GVTC has your back 100% on keeping your family safe.

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