Holly Homer is one busy lady – a blogger on her site Kids Activities Blog, a contributor to a Disney site Spoonful, she also runs Business 2 Blogger, matching companies with bloggers who want to write about them. All that while being a stay-at-home mum to 3 boys!
Her boys (aged 7, 10 and 12) are at an age where their curiosity about the world coupled with constant stimuli and access to the digital world makes them exposed to the possible dangers of the vast amount of information that is available and easily accessed.
Educating parents on how to minimize the risk of a child stumbling on the wrong imagery or information is crucial. We asked Holly what her thoughts were and what to think about when setting parameters and rules for children’s online activity.
Child Safety Online – Interview with Kids Activities Blog
Panda Security: With stories of cyber-bullying in media and reports of underage use of adult social sites, how vital do you think it is to educate parents on the importance of implementing safety measures for online browsing for their children?
Holly Homer: I truly believe that if your child is on a social network, you need to be there too. It is best when you can have experience with that network prior to your child joining so you can be the one showing how to use it. Parents get into trouble when they are clueless with how something works and make rules for the child that don’t make sense! We lose our credibility that way.
P.S.: How savvy do you think parents are when it comes to safe-guarding children online? Do you think it is all too easy for children to stumble across inappropriate things on the internet?
H.H.: Tripping over something inappropriate online is going to happen. Period. But, there are many things that parents can do that will make that infrequent and a less traumatic experience. It isn’t easy! Being a parent these days has forced me into learning technical stuff and doing research on things I don’t fully understand.
P.S. What tips do you have for parents wanting to take steps to protect their children online?
H.H.: Be the one that knows the social network and sets up the account from day one. These networks will not hand out passwords or help you protect your child by being a part of his/her account. So, setting up the account with rules that you are involved is the only way you will have access later on.
P.S.: What are the top things parents need to highlight to their children and educate them on about NOT sharing online, such as personal details etc.?
H.H.: This is a hard one because kids are generally friendly! I am very specific about what things can not be shared. Make it black and white so that kids don’t have to make judgement calls in the middle of a video game… we all know how that is going to turn out!
At Panda Security we believe that, just as Holly says, it is important that parents monitor their children’s online activity.
It is all too easy to gain a child’s trust on the Internet and to give them a false sense of familiarity, and it is our role as adults to educate them on this and also to remove these dangers as much as we can.
A security solution with parental controls can be of great help. The parental controls included in Panda Global Protection 2014 allow you to select the types of content (education, weapons, news, pornography, drugs, etc.) your children can or cannot access. Additionally, you can control which websites they have accessed or tried to access.
By dedicating some time to this task you will protect them in the digital world too. It’ll be worth it.