How to protect your children on the Internet

Internet is currently a very useful tool, both professionally and personally, and it is beneficial for our children to have contact with it as early as possible since they will eventually need to use it on a daily basis.

However, leaving our children alone on the internet without taking any precautions is not advisable, as the online world poses numerous dangers specifically targeted towards minors. It is important to be cautious and take the necessary security measures to protect their privacy and ensure their safety. Here are the main key points to protect your children and prevent any risks:


1. Install a good antivirus software

Whether it’s due to misuse or lack of awareness, your children may unintentionally infect your computer with viruses. To prevent this, at the very least, install a free antivirus software on your computer. If you are highly concerned about this issue or have experienced virus infections despite having a free antivirus software (as they do not guarantee complete security), consider investing in a comprehensive, paid antivirus solution. If you are interested in the latter option, the following link provides an annual subscription to a reputable antivirus software that offers complete protection at an affordable price. It is also suitable for the whole family, with the option to install it on multiple devices, including PCs, Macs, mobile devices, and tablets.


2. Enable parental filters on your browser

One basic yet effective measure is to enable parental filters on your computer’s web browser to prevent your children from accessing adult content websites.

The internet is filled with adult-oriented content, and even if your child has no intention of accessing such content, they may accidentally come across it through advertisements or other means.

Installing these types of filters on your browser is relatively simple, and you can customize the filters based on your children’s age.


3. Establish clear rules for internet usage

Having clear rules in place ensures that there are no misunderstandings or problems. You should agree with your children on how much time they are allowed to spend on the internet and when they can access it. They should also understand that these rules are in place for their own benefit and that as they grow older, they will gradually be granted more access until they have full permission to do as they please.

For younger children, it may be a good idea to provide direct links to approved websites (educational sites, cartoons, their favorite sports, etc.).


4. Keep the family computer in a common area

It is crucial that when your children are young, the family computer is placed in a common area of the house. This way, you can maintain good control over their internet activities, know what they are looking at, and better understand their interests and emotions.

As they grow older and become more responsible, it can be positive to grant them privacy by allowing them to have their own computer in their room.


5. Maintain some level of control over your children’s online activities

Trust is essential, and you can simply talk to your children about their interests and what they browse online.

When they are very young, they will tell you everything without a doubt. The challenge arises as they grow older and become less transparent. At that point, they may respond with vague answers or monosyllables, and you may need to exercise more control by occasionally checking their browsing history to ensure everything is appropriate. However, there’s no need to go overboard; daily inspections or spying on their private messages is unnecessary.

Lastly, when they reach adolescence, be assured that they will be able to do whatever they want without you knowing (they can clear browsing history with their eyes closed). At that age, our job of raising awareness and educating them should already be completed, and they should be fully responsible for their actions.


6. Educate your children about the dangers of the internet

It is important to provide your children with appropriate education and awareness about the dangers they may face online from a young age. Here are the main risks they should avoid:

  • Strangers: Children should understand that they should avoid engaging in conversations with people they don’t know on social media. You never know who may be behind the screen and what their intentions are, so until they are older, they should not interact with strangers online.
  • Sharing information: They must understand that they should never share personal and compromising information, data, or photos that they wouldn’t make public. Even if it’s with trusted friends, they should be aware of the potential consequences it could have on their adult lives.
  • Fraudulent websites and emails: Older children and teenagers should be aware of the existence of fraudulent websites, such as those offering free movie and series downloads or suspiciously cheap products for sale. It is crucial to provide them with basic cyber education so they can identify such websites, as well as fraudulent emails they may receive.
  • Secure passwords: Teach your children to set secure passwords for any accounts they have, such as their personal email or favorite social media platforms. Additionally, make them aware of the dangers that can arise if other people gain access to their accounts.
  • Undesirable groups or interests: Maintain open communication with your children and monitor the online environments they engage in. Even if they have many friends and stay out of trouble in real life, their online experiences may differ, and they may be exposed to undesirable influences. While it’s not necessary to be overly paranoid and think of the worst-case scenarios (terrorist groups, criminal gangs, pro-suicide or pro-anorexia groups, etc.), it’s always good to keep an eye out.
  • Online gambling: Especially if you have teenage boys, be aware that they may be tempted to engage in online poker games and sports betting as they get older. Moreover, if they do participate, there’s a high likelihood they will lose money, as is the case for the majority of gamblers. Therefore, it’s important to provide educational awareness about the risks of gambling and sports betting.



In conclusion, with the internet being an integral part of our lives in both professional/educational and recreational aspects, introducing it to our children at an early age is not a mistake but rather highly advisable. By following the aforementioned advice, your children can learn to use the internet responsibly, and with time and proper guidance, you can allow them to navigate the online world with peace of mind. The most important key is early education and consistent adherence to the principles taught, as it becomes increasingly challenging to redirect their behavior once they become teenagers and misuse the internet.

Lastly, if you are concerned not only about your children’s online safety but also about your own security while browsing, feel free to check out our article on how to prevent personal data theft on the internet.