CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – As more districts announce plans for remote learning this year, it is important that parents know how to keep their children safe online.

Students will be spending more time on computers, which increases their risk of running into cyber threats.

For families to stay safe as they navigate this new environment, whether teaching children from home or just continuing to share and interact on the web, there are a few things parents can do to keep their kids safe online.

  • Look for software support. If a parent is unable to fully supervise a child while they’re doing school work, there is “nanny software” that people can invest in helping monitor what their families are doing. This software can be used as a lesson to teach kids what websites are or are not appropriate as well as provide a regular report on a child’s online activity.
  • Separate work from play. When using laptops, tablets, and phones, if you are able to get and provide your child with a personal computer not given by the school, one of the first things you need to explain as a parent is this is your work system. This is not your play system and you need to use it for school only.
  • Talk to your children about cyber safety. It’s important to build trust so if your child is concerned about something they see on the internet, they can ask you without fear of reprisal. Help them understand the dangers associated with being on the web, and don’t be afraid to ask them if they’ve come across anything out of the ordinary online.
  • Verify all hyperlinks. If you have doubts, look at the domain in the URL and use online search engines to verify it independently. Before clicking links sent to you, hover over the link with your mouse arrow and ensure it is taking you to the intended website.
  • Secure your hardware. Make sure you are protecting your Wi-Fi network and devices around the house by patching and updating to the latest firmware and checking the brand and model for security risks. It is also important to change default passwords and use passwords of significant strength (greater than eight characters with three of the following four (upper case, lower case, number, special character). Do not use words or deviations of words as passwords.