Keeping Our Kids “Safe” Online

Val Curtis
Sponsored By

This is a conversation, sponsored by Norton by Symantec,that I’ve had over and over with friends: “How do we keep our kids safe online?

We worry about apps like Snapchat and our kids talking to strangers or posting provocative selfies publicly on Instagram or Facebook. We see headlines about allthethings that happen to unassuming tweens and teens across the US.

Oh man, and now there is Pokemon Go! (See “Read this next” at the very end of the post for helpful ideas with that one.)

What is this all going to look like when our kids are back in school?

First, there is no silver bullet. We can protect our own devices until we are blue in the face, but our kids have friends and some of them will have open access.

Second, even if your kids know more than you about smartphones, the internet, and tablets, it is YOUR responsibility to put these safeguards in place and to have the tough conversations with them – frequently. Here are some tips for parents and kids, a few conversation starters and ideas and some tools to make it easier for you.

For Parents

  1. Have an open conversation with your kids and make a point to have the conversation often. Set expectations and use tools at home to set the tone for your expectations for computer / smartphone / tablet use. Create a contract with your kids that outlines all of your expectations in detail and have them sign it. Want to some examples? Here you go: This one is from SafeKids. This contract is from and has child and parent portions. LOVE it!
  2. Secure your child’s devices.

You want specifics? Use something like Norton to help set your family standard.

Norton Security Premium - 10 Devices

Norton Security Premium – 10 Devices

Norton Family Premier lets your kids explore the web freely while keeping you in the know about which sites they visit. It comes with tools that block unsuitable content for kids and can give you insight into your child’s social media activity when they log in to Facebook from their PC. The security system also prevents your child from accidentally giving out sensitive personal information from their computer. This includes phone numbers, address, email and the school they attend. It also alerts you when your child attempts to visit a blocked site. You can also keep a tab on the texts they send and receive. You can get all this information on your Android mobile device, so that you can stay aware of your child’s activities while you are on the go.

Norton Family Premier can be purchased on its own, but is also included as a feature of Norton Security Premium (this is good for TEN devices!).

  • Know at a glance when and where your kids spend time online.
  • Gain valuable insights that lead to open, informed conversations.
  • Use simple settings to make the Web safe for kids to explore.
  • Help teach balance and healthy habits without taking away kids’ freedom.
  • Easily protect kids’ private information and online reputations.
  • Easily protect all your kids’ devices with a single solution.

We just purchased a new PC laptop for our family. I will be using it for bookkeeping and my son will be using it for school. Our number one rule is that screens are used in our living room, not in rooms and with Norton, we are able to monitor time online, and filter his search results. The easy-of-use for customizing it to fit our needs is really awesome and I was able to make updates to the settings from my phone while he was working on the computer. Very cool, right?

Another aspect of this that I really appreciate is that when you put in your child’s birthdate, there are preset “House Rules” and you can go in and modify them. Here is an example from the Web House Rules:
Norton by Symantec Family Premier

Norton by Symantec Family Premier

You can personalize the settings, but these are the default exclusions for a 9-year-old.
Norton by Symantec Family Premier

Norton by Symantec Family Premier

For Kids

  1. Never share anything online that you wouldn’t show your parents or grandparents.
  2. Never give anyone your personal information.
  3. Follow our family rules. A) Don’t get yourself killed. B) Don’t be a jerk. (H/T to Dr. G)

Keeping it simple is the name of the game. There are dozens of resources (and opinions) out there about parenting kids in a digital age. What are your concerns and how are you addressing them?

To learn more about Norton by Symantec products, visit the Learning Center.

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It's getting trickier each and every day. Keeping our kids safe on the internet and on smartphones, computers and tablets just takes knowledge of the right tools and conversations for parents.