Have you checked up on your kids lately? What kind of videos are they watching? Do they engage in online games? At this time and age, it’s good to be mindful of where kids go through on the web. Along with the advantages of the Internet, there are some risks that kids are prone to. So, how does one make sure kids are safe on the Internet? The best way to know is to communicate! Make sure that you have an open relationship. Sit down with them and lay some boundaries. Ask them what websites have they been visiting and who they talk to online. It’s important to let them know that we always speak respectfully and kindly and for others to do the same. Let them know that whenever they are feeling unsafe or confused, you are their person to talk to. They should feel safe to ask you anything!
The Internet will be an exciting new place specially your young ones. One thing they might be quite interested in is social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the like. From where you dine, visit, everything they do they now post online. However, kids often forget that not only your friends or family have access to this information but strangers as well. Let them know that it’s important to be mindful of what we put out online and who we share it to. The Internet is a big space for many different people who can have access to your information and whereabouts. Kids should learn that information like their last names, where they live, where they go to school, telephone number and the like are not to be shared without your permission.
There are tools like parental tools that can protect your children from adult content. There are reliable programs designed to monitor your child’s activities. Some are NetNanny, MamaBear, and Qustodio. These programs filter website browsing, manage screen time, and gives you permission to see how your child uses the web. Another option may also be enabling parental controls on your Internet routers. Google Chrome has its Google Family Link. This works the same way. This limits their screen time, locate your kids, and monitor chrome browsing activity.
There are many benefits to the Internet such as communicating with their friends. Advice them to only talk to people they know or people they trust. Kids and teenagers are prone to cyberbullying. Advice them to block and or report people who may be speaking inappropriately. Most websites require of this option to keep spammers and trolls off their websites. If not so, let your kids know that they are free to approach you for any help!
Have they been acting different? Like mentioned, kids and teenagers are prone to cyberbullying. Cyberbullying can come from strangers and even friends and family members. Some signs of cyberbullying may be: Nervousness to answer text and calls, unexplained anger after going online, unwillingness to share their online activities, feeling ill and or undergoing depression. Make sure to keep an eye on them for any changed behaviour!
Children oftentimes feel ashamed to share these information. As parents, it’s important to reassure them that they are not in trouble and that they can tell you anything. Create a space where children feel that they are okay!
Aside from the dangers of the web, kids are also able to learn useful information. Previously, we would have to use books to gather information on certain topics but because of the world wide web, information is at the tip of our fingers! Kids have a library of useful information at their disposal! Kids can now connect, play, and learn all that the same time!
- Top 10 Internet Safety Rules & What Not to Do Online, Kaspersky
- Internet Safety Tips for Children and Teens, New York Public Library
- Linda Roeder, Keep Kids From Seeing Adult Sites. Lifewire