Learn the Importance of Monitoring Your Child’s Internet and Social Media Activities

ID-10019580If you children are using the Internet it is important as a parent to keep them as safe as possible.  There are many dangers on the Internet that most kids don’t understand or care to understand because they are naive.  They think that everyone on the Internet is who they say that they are and don’t feel as if anyone can really harm them, when in reality this is far from the truth.  There are predators searching online for tweens and teens looking to mislead them down the wrong path.   Also, many parents and older children don’t realize that everything that you do on the Internet is traceable and can be tracked down by your Internet Protocol Address, often referred to as an IP address.

Disclosure:  The opinions reflected in this post are my own and may differ from your opinions.

What is an IP address?

An IP address is a special numerical number that is assigned to a device when the device is connected to the Internet.  This numerical address serves two purposes.  The first purpose of the numerical address identifies your host or network interface identification.  Without an IP address, you device would be unable to connect the Internet or other networks.  The second purpose of an IP address is to provide location information.  Each area is assigned a certain range of IP addresses so that someone can easily identify where the connection is located at.

What is a Digital Footprint?

Many people who use the Internet don’t fully grasp this concept or even realize that everything that they do online can be traced or tracked.  Digital tracking is often used for marketing purposes so that companies can target their marketing campaigns to their targeted audience.  Your digital foot print can also give other people an indication of your online digital reputation.  Online reputations are important and is often used for social media interactions such as Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms.  If you or your children participate in social media activities, your digital footprint is often measured by the number of people that you interact with or who are friends with you on any given social media platform.  Your children can potentially get your IP address blacklisted or banned from sites if they are doing unethical things on the computer.

What Devices and Access to the Internet Does Your Child Have?

Many children are gaining access to the Internet at an early age and many parents have no clue about the dangers that your child can potentially discover on the Internet.  I recently became alarmed when I saw a post about a child in Kindergarten already carrying a cell phone at a young age.  My jaw dropped because I don’t feel as if a child should have expensive items such as a cell phone at an early age nor do they need one.  Does your child have any devices that connect to the Internet?  Some examples of devices that children often have access that are currently connected or can be connected to the Internet via WiFi:

  • Televisions
  • Tablets
  • Wii
  • X-box
  • DSI
  • Playstation
  • Computer
  • Cell Phones
  • Ipod Touch with Wifi
  • And Possible Other Electronics that I Missed

Some of the devices are connected to the Internet and most parents don’t think twice about it.  Does your child use any of these devices with or without close supervision?  If you allow your child to use devices unsupervised, they could be accessing websites or content that is disturbing, inappropriate, opening themselves up to cyber attacks such as cyberbullying or cyberstalking, downloading potentially harmful programs to your personal computer or devices, obtaining illegal copies of music, movies, or other media, or accessing pornography.

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43 Responses

  1. Steph~ says:

    Christy, as always your dedication to helping others paired with your dedication to investing key time to provide accurate informative information with key resources shines through in this article. I especially appreciate you defining/explaining in detail the definition of: “digital footprint.” It is so disturbing how many adult AND child bullies are on-line trolling for people to hurt, including not only physical harm although also to digitally rape people by harming people’s earned credibilities as we have sadly witnessed first hand. This article is an excellent resource small grouo workshops. Greatest of gratitude for all you invest in yourcwork

  2. Steph~ says:

    Christy, of course tech headaches as I was finishing my comments. Continued here: Greatest of gratitude to you for all you invest in your work and blog. I am so thankful for all you help me/others learn. :) With gratitude and friendship, Steph~

  3. Mike says:

    Great post, I suggest breaking down into a series, a possible eBook in the making. I really enjoyed the quality of the information, the tips and the statistics that you offer in this piece.

  4. Caylie Price says:

    Hi Christy,
    You have share such vital information here. Although I am not a parent I’m VERY aware of the dangers and have previously been concerned by the information my younger sisters were sharing. With constant changes and the introduction of function like Facebook Graph EVERYONE needs to be conscious and thoughtful before and while they are sharing on the web.
    Cheers,
    Caylie

    • Christy says:

      Thank you for sharing Caylie, you are right even adults need to be careful what they are sharing. After all once it is posted on the Internet, it is permanent. That is the biggest thing that kids don’t understand.

  5. Deanna says:

    What a great post Christy…such valuable information! I have four daughters and it is scary, like you said, as we didn’t grow up with the world at our fingertips.

    I think young kids having cell phones, especially iPhones, is overkill. We give phones to our daughters when they are older and in activities that will give US the comfort of being able to reach THEM.

    In our home, cell phones and computers are not in their bedrooms…they are in the common area where we can see what is being digested. We also have taught the girls to NEVER give out personal information online.

    Thank you for all the reminders!

    • Christy says:

      Thank you for reading this article. My daughter has a basic cell phone, I agree kids shouldn’t have access to high end smartphones. These kids don’t need to spend hours upon hours on the Internet without supervision, unless they are old enough to pay for their own service.

  6. Excellent article! This is a very important subject and some parents don’t take it seriously enough. I see a lot of young kids with Facebook accounts (there are several I know and am FB friends with). I believe Facebook terms say that they have to be at least 13 years old, but some of them are not. They put an extra 10 years on their age so that they can sign up, and then they friend as many people as they can find (hundreds) because they are ‘friends of friends’. I do sometimes see information or conversations that should not be taking place, just because it could put them at risk if they are ‘friends’ with someone who is not trustworthy. In addition, the security settings for the profiles are not always set for optimal protection for public viewing (as in anyone who is not a FB friend may be able to access the profile information and see the status updates). Parents need to stay on top of this. If they choose to allow their kids to have social media accounts at a young age, they need to educate themselves, the child, have full access to the account, set restrictions and monitor the activity regularly.

    • Christy says:

      I agree, it is crazy that kids are allowed to sign up for facebook even if they aren’t 13 yet. Most kids are so naive and don’t realize that they could be harmed or taken advantage of. Parents should take responsibility or at least explain to their children that there are dangers in the cyber world. I couldn’t believe the stats on bullying when I was conducting research for this article. It is sad that most kids are bullied at some point during their school career.

  7. Liz says:

    This is a great article. I agree with everyone here that you are really sharing some valuable information. All too often parents think they know what their kids are up to, only to be surprised later. You have to stay on top of them with this the same way you do about drugs and alcohol – be vigilant!

  8. Robin says:

    This is an important and informative article that parents, educators and caregivers should read. I liked how you thoroughly explained IP addresses, digital tracking, etc. I think as parents we sometimes aren’t knowledgable about the in’s and out of technology and what effect this can have on our children. This was a great post.

  9. My son learned how to use an iPhone at the age of 2. He is now 4, and he already knows what the words ‘download’, ‘App Store’, and ‘credit card’ mean. And although letting him play games and tinker with my phone keeps him quiet and lets me get my work done, I’m still wary of the things that he could possibly do with that gadget in hand.

  10. We always monitor the kids whenever they are on the PC or IPAD. They are also taught about cyberbullying and being responsible online in school which we do follow up at home. The kids are not allowed any Facebook accounts till they are of legal age and do know all the implications of owning one.

  11. Pamela R says:

    excellent post with MANY great tips on how to monitor.

  12. This is an excellent post! I wrote about this very issue a few months ago. I got some very supportive comments…and some comments blasting me for being too over-protective and judgmental. When it comes to protecting my children from online predators…I’m happy to be over-protective. I do not allow my kids a smart phone or any other device that connects to the internet. We do have a PS3, but it’s closely monitored in the living room, along with the family computer (my kids are not allowed to have a computer or other device in their rooms), etc. I monitor everything…

    • Christy says:

      I am happy to be an over-protective children. There are bad things that happen on the Internet and some parents just don’t understand that. I know that child trafficking is a huge topic in the news and guess where these predators find them. On the Internet, duh!

  13. This is when I’m so glad I raised mine already, before the big tech-online culture. They had cell phones, and myspace started as late teenagers for them, but nothing like what parents have to deal with today. The cost is outrageous too. Thanks for such an informative post. It’s going to take new habits of parenting skills to handle our new era.

    • Christy says:

      Yes all of the technology is very expensive. My daughter is lucky she even has a cell phone. But with her being deaf, it is a handy tool because she can easily text us and let us know what is going on.

  14. I firmly believe I have access to anything my kids do. My teens must always allow me access to their phones and computer, and I must have ALL their passwords to facebook, twitter, email, etc. If they ever shut the page, delete history or change a password, they lose access to all electronics for a month. They’ve each tested me once, but that was it. GREAT POST!

  15. Gerri says:

    At what age do you suggest that parents leave their children alone on social media sites? I have a 13 year old daughter who is somewhat active on Facebook and Twitter. I do monitor those sites. However, she also is very active on Tumblr. She has asked me not to monitor Tumblr because she wants to keep it private. However, I felt it was my responsibility to monitor it as I do the other sites, and have been doing so. My daughter found out today that I’ve been monitoring her Tumblr page and is more than extremely upset with me. She says that she’s 13 and responsible, and angry that I don’t trust her. I’m beside myself right now for losing my daughter’s trust and perhaps doing something terrible by invading her privacy. I know that she’s going to set up a new Tumblr site that I can’t access. Are there some sites like Tumblr where a parent doesn’t have to worry? I’d appreciate any thoughts that you may have. Thank you.

    • Christy says:

      My daughter is 16 and I still actively monitor her computer activity. I do allow her to use the computer unsupervised for the most part but I do check on her randomly. I agree that it is important that you monitor her Tumblr account in case you see activity such as bullying. I would explain to her that you are monitoring her for her safety and it isn’t an invasion of her privacy. Explain to her that sometimes bad things happen to children ie meeting people online without your knowledge, cyber bullying, cyber stalking, drug use, and so much more. I wouldn’t feel too bad for monitoring her usage on the computer, that is why you are the parent and she isn’t. I hope this helps Gerri and I am glad that you found this article helpful.

      Kudos for caring about your daughter’s safety.

  16. WOW! These are great tips, Christy. I don’t have kids now but if I did, I definitely would follow your advice. Thanks so much for sharing.

  17. You are so right. You just gave very important information here. Thank you.

  18. Pat Moon says:

    There is so much wisdom in this article. It is a must read for all parents. I am a grandma so do not have a say about what my grandchildren are allowed to do but for the most part I believe they have been monitored properly. Even those of us who are not children need to think about what we put out on the internet and consider our digital footprint. Thanks.

  19. Thanks for this I’m bookmarking it to re-read later.

  20. Dee says:

    So much more important today in light of the online bullying that’s taking place and the parents who deny it and blame random hackers who hack on/off. We need to open our eyes, kids aren’t perfect and they need our supervision to help. :)

  21. Monitoring the online activity is one of the best ways to save your child from the dangers of Internet, I totally agree with what you write in this article.
    In today’s world with so much hidden evil waiting to attack the unknowing, unexperienced and unprotected minds of our children, its extremely important to protect them as much as possible in order to maintain our families integrity and health.

    Thank you for writing this and all other articles, they really help me in my search of ways to protect my family.

  22. MumLee says:

    Very interesting and informative post. You have put it too nicely. Well, this is going to be a nightmare of this generation while our older gen never had to worry growing us up… Keep doing great work like this. I am sure everyone will appreciate such worthy efforts wholeheartedly.

  23. Mitzi says:

    This is such important information to be aware of and for parents to take control over to protect the children. There are so many dangers out there, it doesn’t hurt to be a little cautious

  24. Momfever says:

    Thanks for the info. Although it sometimes scares me. There’s so much to fear for our children nowadays.

  25. Dana says:

    Great advice, Christy. My tween and teen know that Mom and Dad have full access to all their devices and social media accounts, and can check them anytime. Sometimes they just need to be educated about what is safe/not safe; monitoring them allows me to do that. Better they learn from me than from a negative experience!

  26. Nina says:

    I agree with you completely. Also want to add that unsettled devices that can restrict access to internet I saw these while browsing the Internet. My opinion is that these devices are needed in every household where there are children. And more parents need to monitor Internet usage process itself child

  27. Christy says:

    Thank you for stopping by Daniele. :)

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