As your child is sitting and typing away on the computer, it can be easy to forget that he or she could be interacting with any number of strangers, many of whom you would never invite into your home. With more schools assigning work that requires time spent online conducting research and kids more eager than ever to get their hands on social media, how do you keep your children safe when they are online?

1. Enact parental controls.

Your Internet provider or computer operating system will usually have controls that you can set to limit which sites your child is allowed to visit or to monitor which sites have been visited in the past. You can also purchase software that will block certain sites, shut off the computer or disconnect it from the Internet between certain hours.

2. Have a central computer location.

Don’t allow your child to surf the Web in his or her own room. While trust is important, so is safety. Keep your computer located in a central area of the home like the dining room or living room. When your child is online, make a point of walking by occasionally so that you can see what he or she is doing.

3. Bookmark sites.

It can be helpful, especially for younger children who could stumble onto unsavory sites by accident, to bookmark specific sites that a child is allowed to use for either recreation or school projects. Having direct links to those sites on the desktop makes it easier for kids to get where they want to go.

4. Know the passwords.

Know your child’s passwords for every site that they visit — especially social media. If your child is on Facebook or Twitter, let them know that using these sites is a privilege and that one of the conditions is having you as a friend. Keep track of what they are doing, but be aware that it’s possible to block posts from being viewed by others. In this case, you need to have access to your child’s account.

5. Have the conversation.

The most important thing that you, as a parent, can do to keep your child safe online is to talk to them about it. You should have frequent conversations about what the limits are and why they are in place. Your child needs to know that he or she can approach you if anybody ever makes him or her feel threatened or otherwise unsafe.

This Guest Post provided by The Law Offices of David Michael Cantor, Phoenix Criminal Lawyers located in Phoenix, AZ.