Helping Grandchildren Safely use the Internet

By Lindsay Hornell, B.S.W, B.A., Graduate Research Assistant
Department of Human Development and Family Studies
Colorado State University

Helping Grandchildren Safely use the Internet

With readily available access to computers, cellphones, and tablets, children and adolescents are able to access the internet at the click of a button. Having quick access to the internet can be a great resource for children and adolescents, but it can also be hazardous. As a grandparent raising grandchildren, it is important to know how to keep your grandchildren safe when they use the internet. One way to keep your grandchildren safe is by monitoring what they see and hear on the internet. Try these tips to help you monitor internet activity:

  • Check to see if your internet service provider provides parental control options. If they do, you can block certain types of websites from showing up on your computer and you can also track what your grandchildren do online.
  • Keep your computer in a common area, like the living room or kitchen, so you can easily see what your grandchildren are viewing.

Another way to keep your grandchildren safe online is by keeping track of who they talk to. Try these tips to monitor your grandchild's online communication:

  • Share an email account, or have your grandchild's email information, so you can monitor email exchanges.
  • Make rules against entering private chat rooms or block them with parental-control options.
  • If your grandchild mentions having "friends" online, ask to be introduced to his/her "friends".

The last way to keep your grandchildren safe online is by informing them on how to be smart about what information they share about themselves. Try these tips to help your grandchildren know what to reveal and what not to reveal about themselves:

  • Talk to you grandchildren about how it can be dangerous to give out personal pictures and personal information online (address, telephone number, etc).
  • Teach your grandchildren to only use screen names, so their real names are not available to other people on the internet.

As with other challenges that come with raising grandchildren, the most important thing to do is to keep open communication with your grandchildren. Be sure to talk to your grandchildren about the dangers of the internet, your concerns, and how to stay safe as soon as they start having access to the internet. Having open communication about internet access will help your grandchildren feel comfortable talking to you as they explore the internet.

Information for this article was provided by Kids Health.