Website bookmarks are easy and convenient, but few of us would think to utilize them to keep our families safe online. In fact, though, bookmarks can be a great way for parents to protect young children online and set boundaries for acceptable internet use.
Pornography companies stay informed on what kids like to search for and which websites are popular. They also know that fingers slip on keyboards, and it’s easy to make a typo in a URL bar or a search engine box. It only makes sense, then, to use misspelled online kiddie spots as pornography sites. With online bookmarks, though, fingers don’t slip. It’s an easy way to get right where you want to go without any not-so-scenic detours.
Having a prearranged list of acceptable websites also makes monitoring your browser history easier. If you know that there are only ten sites your child has permission to visit, any other site will stand out on the list.
Better yet, a bookmarked list of kid-friendly websites sets a clear boundary for your kids. Families won’t have to quibble about a site’s content after the fact– if it wasn’t on the pre-approved list, both the parents and the kids know the website was off-limits, regardless of the innocence of the site. The concept of inappropriate content may be fuzzy to younger kids, but bookmarks set limits even a toddler can understand.
For families with older kids, this may not be a perfect solution, especially as tweens and teens need to start searching the web for research papers and other projects. However, bookmarks can really help younger kids stay out of the “deep end” of the internet and learn to follow internet safety rules.
Most importantly, of course, setting bookmarks will spark a conversation about internet safety. This is a chance for parents to talk to their kids, perhaps for the first time, about pornography, online street smarts, and using the web mindfully, not just clicking around. These conversations and rules will help kids develop healthy internet habits and be smart tech consumers. Bookmarks may not be forever, but the education will.