Internet Safety for Kids: Practical Tips for Grandparents

Internet Safety for Kids: Practical Tips for Grandparents

June is Internet Safety Month, so it’s a great time to brush up on ways to keep even the youngest web-surfers safe and secure as they use technology for all of the wonderful things it can provide.

According to the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, typically cyber attacks occur due to what they call “poor cyber hygiene.” They recommend everyone take 4 basic steps to decrease their chances of cyber attacks including creating strong passwords, using multi-factor authentication, keeping software and apps up to date, and learning how to recognize phishing attempts. When it comes to children’s online safety, being aware of threats like cyberbullying and online predators is also extremely important.

Whether you’re a long-distance grandparent who uses technology to stay connected with your grandchild or a local grandparent who supervises little ones while they use their device, there are some easy and practical steps you can take to help kids form safe and healthy habits.  


1. Guide them in setting up accounts.

When children are downloading new apps or creating accounts on kid-friendly platforms, help them create strong passwords that have random and unique characters and can’t be easily guessed. Also talk to them about not sharing passwords with anyone except for caregivers and using unique passwords for every platform rather than using the same password for every application.  

2. Supervise their technology use.

It can be hard to keep up with all of the apps, games and websites grandchildren use. Ask them questions about the video games and apps they use so you can stay informed. Do random checks, especially of chat features, to make sure conversation is appropriate and done only with those they know. Consider establishing the rule that technology use can’t be used in bedrooms. Keeping computers and other devices in a common room where adults are present, decreases the chances of kids interacting with inappropriate websites and unsafe strangers online.

3. Communicate with parents and other caregivers.

If you are helping supervise grandchildren, check in with parents on their personal rules about technology limits and internet safety precautions to ensure consistency. Does the parent have rules about screen-time limits? Are there certain apps or websites they consider off-limits? Do they have certain rules about what photos, videos and personal information can be shared by their children and of their children? As a grandparent, it’s also important to respect parents wishes on your own social media when sharing about grandchildren.

4. Educate them about online dangers.

The Federal Trade Commission has resources about all kinds of technology-related threats and risks including being alert for cyberbullying, safe social media practices, risks of online gaming and best practices for kids cellphone use. Seek out age-appropriate ways to inform and educate children in a way that doesn’t feel scary. Common Sense Media has internet safety resources for each grade level K-12. You can browse and review them to see what topics would be most relevant depending on the age of your grandchildren. In a world of ever-changing technology, knowledge is power for children and the adults that love them.

5. Keep personal information private.

Talk to kids about not sharing personal information online such as their name, age or where they live. Remind them to be careful about what images and videos they share and who they share them with. For example, talk to them about how sending a video message to a grandparent or other family is a great way to stay in touch, but they should never send a video or photo to someone they don’t know.

6. Encourage open communication.

Make sure children know that if they ever feel uncomfortable online, they can come to you and their parents with concerns and questions. They are bound to get pop-ups and warning messages they don’t understand. Remind them to keep the adults in their life informed so that you can evaluate messages together and teach them to not click on anything they’re unsure of.

7. Foster healthy tech habits.

In addition to the safety concerns we’ve already discussed, overuse of devices can result in things like headaches, eye strain and even internet addiction. Help kids find a balance of technology use by taking breaks, enjoying time outdoors together and modeling technology-free time yourself in their presence.


Online safety may seem like a scary topic, but there are plenty of resources available to educate yourself so you can empower your grandkids. With a few precautions, the entire family can still enjoy using the internet in a safe and healthy way to learn about the world around them. And stay connected to loved ones, no matter the distance!

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