The speed at which technology is progressing is so rapid that keeping your kids safe while they are online can seem like a more daunting task than maintaining their physical safety in the busiest of public settings.

I’m 29 years old, and I didn’t learn how to use the Internet until I was in the 8th grade because at the time it was still not the commonplace medium it is today. Now I see toddlers struggling to hold a smart phone against their ear to talk to dad while running errands with mom.

As children become familiarized with technology at younger and younger ages we as a society must recognize the unique risks associated with what, when, and where they can access potentially harmful information or be putting themselves at risk.

Don’t assume that simply changing your browser’s security settings will do the parenting for you. Bare in mind that your kids most likely know at least as much about how to adjust those setting as you do!

Keeping the computer in a central location is a good start so you can keep your eyes on what your kids are looking at. But just having a computer in a common area isn’t enough anymore. Be sure that your kids don’t have game consoles, laptops, tablets, or smart phones in their room because they could be accessing or revealing potentially harmful information without you being any the wiser.

While you’re watching them, pay attention to who they’re talking to and what they post. What may seem like a harmless post to them could compromise their safety. Don’t allow them to give out personal information to anyone they haven’t met in person such as their name, address, phone number, or anything that could tell a stranger where to track down your child.

After they’re done using the computer review the browser history and check their favorite sites often so you know exactly what they see. Set the security and privacy settings on your browser that you feel is appropriate for children their age and let them know that you will be checking them often to make sure that they stay set where they are.

Additionally, when using the computer for homework be sure that they aren’t plagiarizing other peoples’ work. It is so easy to find information then copy and paste it to a book report, but that could land them in serious trouble. Be sure to tell your kids about the rules and rights that people have in creating and submitting content online.

There is no doubt that the Internet is a wonderful learning tool and makes communication easier than ever. But much like the real-world, the Internet requires some adult supervision to keep your child safe.