Keeping Preschoolers Safe Online

Sarah Bowler's picture

Several years back, I observed a 4-year-old playing on his parents’ computer during our adult small group time. He couldn’t read yet, but he entered website addresses into the URL and surfed the net. I begin to realize we live in a generation where we need safeguards in place on the internet even for preschoolers.

After having my own kids, this has become even more apparent. There are few things that capture their attention quite like computers, cell phones, or tablets.

Here are a few suggested safeguards for preschoolers:

  • Put passwords on all your electronic devices.
  • Have separate user log-ins for your computer—Set up a separate user name and password on your family computer for your children to use. Under the control panel you can choose what programs they have access to and even change internet settings.
  • Consider buying or downloading parental control software—This may not be something you need to do with younger children but as they get older you will want to have it in place. Here is one site that reviews the top 10 parental softwares.
  • Choose your homepage with care—Make sure that the homepage on your family computer (or other devices) is toddler friendly. You may want to be careful of sites that have scary news images or suggestive advertisements in the side bar.
  • Change your computer settings to block pop-ups.
  • Try to find children’s sites with minimal ads.
  • Help your child recognize the difference between ads and the website itself—This will help teach your children critical thinking skills and safeguard them in the future. You don’t want them clicking on ads and going to other sites or accidentally downloading a virus.
  • Begin now to think about ways to porn proof your children—Sites such as Porn Proof Kids have many valuable resources.
  • Beware of public WiFi—When we are away from home, it’s easy to hand our children a cell phone or tablet to keep them occupied. But be cautious. Places with public WiFi do not typically have safeguards set in place to protect children from ads or other harmful material.
  • Set clear usage limits and make sure that all caregivers know the family rules as well.
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