The internet has become a huge and meaningful part of our lives in the past decades. Whether we use it for work or for entertainment only, people practically cannot live without it. However, as the number of internet users grows, so do the potential dangers.
The internet is a very useful although not the safest environment. That is why each and every user has to know how to use it very responsibly, especially when it comes to the kids. The majority of children only use the internet for fun, but are they safe enough?
No matter how old your child is or what their interests are, your primary concern should be teaching them some basics about online security in order to prevent any of the various unfortunate scenarios. We will provide you with a helpful guide on how to achieve that!
What can you do
Nowadays, children start using the web at a very young age. Whether it is for learning, socializing, creative or entertainment purposes, they will inevitably get online at some point and there is no stopping that. There are various tools available which can help you limit their access to the internet such as parental control routers or various software.
Helpful as they may be, these solutions cannot provide absolute control of what your child will be exposed to or do online and do not, by any means, guarantee a 100% level of security. They might be safe at home while using your personal computer, but who knows what kind of content or people they can come across when you’re not monitoring them?
Instead on putting an emphasis on such safety solutions, your task should be to focus more on creating a mental foundation which will teach your kid to protect themselves on their own.
Provide age-related adjustments
When your children start using the internet, it is like they have stepped into a whole new world of possibilities. Different ages and personalities require different approaches. According to The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule, children below the age of 13 shouldn’t be allowed on social networks such as Facebook.
However, that most certainly won’t stop them from doing so. In fact, millions of children under this age do use social platforms, some even with their parents’ consent. That does not necessarily mean that such parents are being irresponsible, maybe they just want to encourage their kids to get in touch with their relatives living abroad.
No matter how old your child is, you have to teach them some ground rules. For example, the primary thing they should know is the fact that what is once posted online stays there forever and that everyone can see it. Explaining the severity of consequences this might bring will surely make them more cautious about what they decide to post.
Serve as a good example
Children usually like to copy their parents’ behavior. If you are, for instance, spending hours and hours on your laptop, chances are your kid would want to do the same, as that is an example you are setting. If that is the case in your family, it can serve as a good opportunity to upgrade your computer-related habits.
This doesn’t only refer to restricting the time spent on your devices, but also on how it is being spent. That is why you should involve your kids more whenever you are browsing the web. Show them what you post online, teach them what is acceptable and what’s not. Also, if you think you or someone else in your family is spending too much time online, you should come up with certain restrictions that will apply to the whole family.
Establish good communication
As previously mentioned, there are now various tools available to restrict the content available to your children and to help you monitor what they do online. However, spying on your kids 24/7 is both a bad and an impossible idea.
Instead, put the biggest emphasis on communication. You have to pass the knowledge to them and build a trustworthy relationship where you can be certain that your kid is responsible and conscientious enough about what they do on the internet.
Although danger is lurking from every corner of the internet, you can never have a completely full insight into your children’s activities. Luckily, what you can do is to follow these tips and make sure your kid learns how to protect themselves on their own with a bit of your help!