HKQ Kids

Internet Safety for Your Kids

Now that it’s getting colder, you may find your kids playing inside where it’s warm.  And, they may be spending a little more time on that new video game they received during the holidays. Some games can be beneficial for kids – they can build problem-solving skills, enhance creativity, and overall, be very educational. But, we also know there are games that are very attractive, that may be very inappropriate.

To help you make the best decisions when purchasing a video game or electronics for your kids, we have a few helpful tips:

  • Look for an age-rating on video games or electronics, whether it is purchased from a store or downloaded and played online.
  • Look for any descriptive language on the game.
  • Read the packaging, any inserts, and search out any reviews online prior to purchase or download.
  • Check out parental settings on game systems such as Playstation and Xbox. This can prevent your kids from downloading inappropriate games.
  • Preview games on YouTube prior to purchasing. You will find many game “walk-throughs” on YouTube.
  • After they begin playing – notice any behavioral changes. Could any of those changes be an influence from gaming?
  • Ask them what games they play at their friends’ homes. And talk to other parents as well.
  • Balance online and offline activities. Limit screen time before bed, with a hard shut down within a few hours of bedtime.
  • Listen to your kids while they are playing their online games, and listen for anything that might raise a red flag.

Social Networking
Social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and SnapChat are household terms lately. And while standard policy for Social Media Platforms is to limit anyone under 13 from having a social media profile, we all know this ruling has not been enforced.

Social media open the doors of your home to thousands of people. Remember, a simple comment or even a “Like” can share it across several pages. And, since there is no way to enforce truthfulness, it is very difficult to know that the person you are chatting with is who they say they really are. Inappropriate comments can easily lead to misunderstandings.

A few safety tips:

  • Be very clear with boundaries: No sharing of personal information, no talking to strangers, and nothing inappropriate that can hurt others.
  • Make sure you are part of their network of friends.
  • Set security and privacy settings across all social media platforms on all devices.
  • Ensure they know how to block and report inappropriate postings.
  • Know their passwords and audit their use on a regular basis.

Most important, always keep open communication with your kids. Let them know that they can always talk to you if something makes them uncomfortable or if something goes wrong.

For additional safety tips, go to HKQKids.org or find us on Facebook.