Internet Safety: Tips to Keep Your Kids Safe This School Year

Posted on September 5th, by Cathy Olsen in Internet Devices, Security. 5 comments


Internet safety: Top 5 ways to keep your kids safe this school year

Created By: Cathy Olsen


Cathy Olsen

It's back to school. We anticipate and somewhat dread the fact that our little ones will be leaving the nest and entering rooms full of kids, playgrounds, play dates, etc. I know that I always cry on the first day of school. What a monumental day.

In today's connected smartphone generation, we worry about our kids' exposure to dangers found on the Internet: pornography, sexting, cyber-bullying, identity theft. Please! Stop worrying and do something today to protect your kids. Here are the top five ways to keep your kids safe this school year.

1. Talk to your kids about the Internet 

You need to teach kids safe Internet browsing habits. Tell them to be careful where they click (ads, pop-ups, unknown emails, etc). Talk to them about inappropriate material. Talk to them about what they should do if they are exposed to inappropriate material. Set up an Internet drill. If anything happens, they should stop and get an adult.

We must protect our kids from the garbage on the Internet, but this horrible content is so pervasive, and there are endless ways to access it. Don't let your kids drown. Teach them to swim before they are surfing on the Internet.

While talking to your kids about the Internet, set up an online guideline for your house. Here is an example online guideline. Make a guideline of your own, print it out. Even sign it. This guideline is to instruct your kids what they can and cannot do on the Internet, no matter how, when or where they access the Internet.

2. Get filtered

We all hear about filters. You may have installed a filter on your home computer. However, does your school have a filter? Does your local library have a filter? Who installed the filter? Did they install it on all new computers this year? When did they install it? Does it need to be updated? Work with school administrators and local civic leaders to make sure our libraries and schools have adequate Web filtering in place.

Do you have filters installed? If not, don't worry. There are plenty of free solutions to help you. Here are links to video tutorials that will show you how to install them: How to install OpenDNS,How to install K9 Web filter.

Your kids may have smartphones or other mobile devices. Get those devices locked down and filtered. Install a filtered Web browser on the device and disable all other browsers. The K9 application is free. Here is a link to a tutorial on how to lockdown an Apple mobile device.

Don't to forget to turn on Safe Search. Many school projects tend to lead to YouTube and Google image searches. Block possible inappropriate material from coming through the search by turning on the Safe Search: How to turn on Google Safe SearchYouTube for Kids.

3. Check their credit

Although this may seem strange, there has been an increased amount of child identity theft as reported in this recent KSL story. A child's Social Security number is used to open credit cards, purchase cars and perform other fraudulent activities. Check your child's credit once a year. Go to This website is secure and provides a free “soft” inquiry to the three main credit agencies. It does not give a credit score, however it will list all open lines of credit. A soft inquiry once a year will not affect their credit score. However, ignoring their credit score until they turn 18 may ruin their credit.

4. Charge phones and mobile devices in the kitchen 

We all know that we need to keep our computer in a public location. Well, that iTouch, smartphone and tablet are just as powerful as a computer. Do you want them to be brought into your kids' bedrooms? Even if the content is filtered, you wouldn't want them to be texting, skyping, using FaceTime or performing any other form of communication all night long. Charge all devices (even yours to set an example) in the kitchen. You can then unplug the chargers in the morning, which is helpful for the environment.

5. Be a little “shy” on the Internet 

Certain aspects of the Internet help to satisfy our need to connect with others. We want to share. We want to friend. We want to like everything. We want to post pictures and videos. However, as parents we need to be careful about our kids' privacy and interactions on the Internet. Once you post, share, text or tweet something on the Internet, it is impossible to retrieve it. Teach your kids to think before they post.

We all love Facebook, but do you really need 400 friends? Teach your kids to take it slow on Facebook. It is not a competition of who can have the most friends. They need to have good meaningful friendships at school and on the Internet. This could also prevent cyber-bullying that is happening more often that we realize. Restrict your child's Facebook privacy settings. “Friends only” is key. Here is a link to a video tutorial on how to adjust the privacy settings:Facebook privacy settings.

Your children's Internet profiles will follow them the rest of their lives as they apply for college and jobs. Help your kids keep a clean and positive Internet profile.

Teach them great things on the Internet

Do you kids have a random question? Show them how to search for the best answer.

Do they like to write? Let them start a blog. You can set up the blog to restrict access to invited readers only.

Do they want to get more involved in a cause? Help them start a social group (twitter, Facebook, blog) to promote a worthy cause.

Do they like to be creative? Let them film a video and post it online. Vimeo is a great video sharing platform that has more restrictive features than YouTube.

Do they have a great idea? Research the idea on the Internet. See if anyone else has done it. Maybe let them start a small business and run with it.

As you can see, the Internet is a great vehicle to enrich your kids lives. Just make sure your kids have fastened the seat belt and you are a close by as they learn how to drive.






5 Responses to “Internet Safety: Tips to Keep Your Kids Safe This School Year”

  1. Terrie Deemer says:

    I think what Damian said is excellent ….people who have to travel or live in foreign places should receive these little trinkets and notes of love from home things sent with real feeling and meaning. I wish the average Brit were so creative!

  2. C. Homan says:

    Please see these 3 YouTube Clips or google Youtube Mom Exposes School Internet

    Mom Exposes School Internet – 12 Min Version – YouTube
    ► 12:34► 12:34
    4 days ago – Uploaded by rosaritoslm
    Mother of 3 elementary school students finds and exposes shocking content … Mom Exposes Classroom …
    Mom Exposes Classroom Internet Content – Is Your Child Safe? 5 …
    ► 5:38► 5:38
    4 days ago – Uploaded by rosaritoslm
    Check the school’s iPads too. Watch the longer version “Mom Exposes Classroom Internet Content – Is …
    Mom Finds Porn On Elementary School Computers … – YouTube
    ► 2:04► 2:04
    8 hours ago – Uploaded by rosaritoslm
    Mom Finds Porn On Elementary School Computers – ABC News Wake Co. … Mom Exposes Classroom …
    More videos for youtube mom exposes elementary school … »

  3. Matt says:

    Hi SecureMama,

    Great Site……… thought you might be interested in this….. great for mums, dads and their kids…..

    “ is an online family life management website that combines traditional family organizer functions with online private groups enabling family members of any age to plan, connect and share in a safe and private environment.

    Designed by a father of four young children under the age of 10 and was so concerned about his childrens’ impending ‘date with destiny’ and issues of kids online safety, Cyberbullying and online identity theft he designed a ‘kids safe’ family-orientated online platform to safeguard families from unsolicited and unwanted internet activity.

    Liviit is quite different to the mainstream social networking sites – it is an online management tool for life. At the core of Liviit is the ‘Managed User’ and ‘Page Classifications’ features, solely designed to protect children as they start their online experience, whilst also enabling parents and guardians to monitor their child’s activity, language, content and private contacts. Teaching their children how to use and behave on the Internet, bringing real world ‘face-to-face’ values into the ‘online’ world.”

    You can contact me at

  4. Cathy Olsen says:

    Great idea! Would you want to write a guest post on the site?

  5. Matt says:

    that would be great, never done a guest post before, perhaps you could contact me on to give me a couple of tips

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