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Many school-aged children have some form of Internet access. While the Internet can be a powerful tool to learn, play games, watch educational videos and do schoolwork, it can also be a dangerous place for young children.

Here are some tips you can use to help keep your children safe online:


Help Your Child Find Appropriate Apps and Websites: Become your children’s guide to the Internet by introducing them to websites that are fun, clean and age-appropriate. If they have specific interests, steer them toward the websites that would capture their attention.

Speak to Your Child about Protecting their Private Information Online: Children should never give personal information to strangers. Even when interacting with friends in an online setting, it is best for them to refrain from using a real photo, and to opt for a nickname instead of their real name.

When speaking to children about protecting privacy, specify the information that should not be shared, such as their name, address, phone number, email address, school name and the like. As well, reiterate that sending pictures of themselves on an online platform or sharing passwords with friends is a no-no.

Speak to People Online with Kindness and Respect: It’s easy for children to forget that the words appearing on the screen are written by a real person with feelings. Teach your children to think before commenting online and to refrain from posting anything that wouldn’t be appropriate to say in person.

Encourage Critical Thinking: Just because someone posted something online doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true. Teach your children that information they read online should be taken with a grain of salt, and help them differentiate between legitimate and questionable sources. When children have a better sense of which websites and online personalities are trustworthy and which should merely be used for entertainment, they will be better able to discriminate between truths and lies.

That being said, even the most reliable websites sometimes have inaccuracies or push agendas; hence, children should be encouraged to come to you if they read or see something online that does not make sense to them or leaves them feeling uncomfortable.

Take Advantage of Internet Safety Tools: There is a myriad of Internet safety tools – such as filters and parental control systems – on the market today. Picking the one that is right for your family requires research and an innate understanding of your family’s needs. While filters or parental control systems might not be enough alone to protect your children, they can help them navigate the online world in a somewhat safer manner.

Block Ads When Possible: Even with certain filters, images in ads can be unsuitable for children.

Keep the Channels of Communication Open: Your children are bound to eventually stumble onto something – whether accidental or not – that is inappropriate or overwhelming to them. Let your children know that they can talk to you about anything, and if they viewed something that rubbed them the wrong way or doesn’t make sense to them, you are open to hearing about it without judgment.

Be a Good Role Model: Children often mimic their parents’ behaviors. When your children see you using the Internet responsibly, they will have an example to follow.

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Bracha Halperin is a business consultant based in new York City. To comment on her Jewish Press-exclusive tech columns -- or to reach her for any other purpose -- e-mail her at [email protected]. You can also follow her on Instagram or Twitter at: @brachahalperin.