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Online Privacy

Online privacy refers to technologies or practices that protect anonymity and personal or sensitive information online. As your children interact with others on the internet, they could reveal information about themselves, letting strangers or cyber predators into their lives, possibly compromising their privacy and even personal safety.

Know what it means to give too much information online and how you can protect your children through internet filters or regulating what they share online.

Regulating What Your Child Shares Online

Social networking sites and virtual worlds provide convenient platforms for teens to mingle and network. It is also a space that can put them in vulnerable positions if they are not careful. Many teenagers assume that the internet is where they can disregard the safety precautionary measures and social protocols of the offline world and share their information only online because they are in front of a computer screen. However, the rules we abide by when we are offline also apply online. As parents, it is therefore important that you help your teens learn to share and post appropriately.

Here’s how you can do it.

1. Educate and talk to them
Prevention is better than cure. Have regular talks with your children about their online activities. Equip them with knowledge about issues like privacy, online strangers, cyber bullying, copyright and inappropriate content. You should also highlight the consequences of certain online behaviours. If possible, use some real life examples from newspapers to discuss the dangers and consequences, and help them better understand the importance of respect, responsibility and accountability when they are online.

2. Place computers at common areas
Place the computer at home in common areas like the living room, study room or dining area. If your teens have their own laptops, set a rule for them to use the laptops at these areas. By doing so, it reduces the likelihood of your teens engaging in irresponsible online behaviour because they know you are on a lookout.

3. Be involved
Have your child cultivate the habit of having to seek your permission before they can sign up for anything online. And when they do sign up, involve yourself in the process. Make sure that they don’t disclose unnecessary information. If the website offers users privacy settings, make sure to help your kids to set them up as well.

4. Participate in what they do online
Consider registering an account for yourself when your kids sign up for something. Use it to stay connected with your child on the website so you can conveniently keep an eye on what they share. But, make sure you give them some space and not go overboard with the monitoring. If you have no intentions of using the website, use your registered account to at least get a feel of what it is about.

5. Use parental control software
Parental control software like CyberPatrol, Net Nanny and CYBERsitter are useful tools that allow you to keep a log of the websites your child has visited and block the access to certain website you deem undesirable. Though you can’t control what he shares using the software, it gives you the ability to keep watch and regulate his use even when you’re away. You can also set timers with the software to limit access to the internet or specific websites to certain times e.g. when you’re at home to supervise what they are doing online.

Article contributed by TOUCH Cyber Wellness