The advancements in technology have significantly altered the world as well as the experiences of your kids’ childhood. Your Kids are exposed to the world of devices and internet at very tender age. But, Internet has its steamy side and it’s too easy for your kids to stray into it. The impact of the same could be very dangerous; in some cases,it might even lead to mental or even physical harm. News headlines regarding internet-related crimes inundate parents.Fret Not! We have come up with 10 tips to keep your kids safe online.
#1. Protect your Devices
The very first step is to protect all your devices with a proper antivirus and internet security suite. There is a lot of inappropriate content, advertisementsand anonymous websites available on the internet that not only harms your system but might also corrupt the young minds. Kids believe that all the contents shown on the internet are true and do not know how to differentiate right from wrong. Thus it is very important for you to protect your devices with relevant software’s to ensurethat all the scratches are filtered out before it reaches your child.
#2. Set up Rules
Insist your child to use the devices only in the living area, such that the screen is always in your line of vision. Set firm time limits for how long your child can use it and during what hours. But do not over do with the restrictions. Children are more tempted to do the things that are restricted for them. Thus it is important to discuss with your child about the aspects of safe usage of internet and make sure to set rules that are agreed by both.
#3. Educate your Child
Before handing the devices to your kids, educate them on the Do’s and Don’ts on the Internet. Teach them the importance of maintaining privacy in a public space. Speak to them about the harmful impacts of sharing the personal information, photographs, locations etc in social media or any other website. Educate them that not everything put on the internet is true. Give them examples of various dangers available in the internet like the Blue Whale game and the advancements that are happening.Enable your kid to stay away from these potential risks.
#4. Follow Age Restrictions
Certain games, websites, series etc are age restricted. Make sure that the games your child plays are age appropriate. There is a reason why age limits are mentioned. Also, many social media channels have a particular age before which they are restricted to join. Teach your child to follow the rules and do not give in even if they pressurize you.
#5. Spend screen time together
Monitoring and controlling your child’s activities online is not always possible. Instead, spend some fun time with your kids and surf the internet together. This will help you know what your child plays, where their interest lies, who they are talking to etc. Their behavior during such interactions also lets you analyze if they are having a safe internet time. E.g.your child would be anxious while you are sharing the screen space if they are up to something mischievous.
#6. Keep gadgets in common areas
It’s best to let the gadgets be in the common areas of the house and not to let kids use it in their bedrooms. This may seem like a difficult situation at first, but later your kid would get accustomed to it. When there are guest at home or when your kid’s friends arrive, even then playing with laptops, tablets, or smartphones has to happen in the common areas of the house. Don’t force these decisions upon your kids rather make them understand your reasons to doing so.
#7. Dealing with strangers
Internet is not just a place for huge amount of data, but also the place for networking. Even though your child is too young to use social media platforms, there are many online games that require your kid to socialize with the other players. It will definitely not work if you ask your child not to play such games. Thus make sure your child is under constant supervision when playing such games. Also, it is very important to make your child be aware of dealing with the strangers. Tell your child to strictly follow these rules while interacting with a stranger, however harmless the stranger might seem to be:
- Do not share information such as full names, addresses, telephone numbers, school name, location etc
- Don’t accept things from strangers- including attachments, photos, links etc.
- Avoid expressing feelings and emotions to strangers or in public forums.
- Do not share any personal photos.
#8. Be trustable
Encourage your child to open up to you in case they are facing a problem. But your child would open-up to you only when they trust you. Children get a kick out of trying something new. If you try to restrict everything that your child does, they would stop trusting you and might even block you out of some serious stuff when they grow up. So instead of blatantly saying a no, patiently explain your child about the consequences. Tell them that no matter how awful the circumstances are you will always bail them out without punishing them. Let them know that no matter how late it is, or how busy you are, you want to be called to get them out of a situation they know isn’t good.
#9. Lead by Example
‘Children are great Imitators. Do great things for them to Imitate’ says a popular saying. Isn’t it obvious? They see us right from their birth and unknowingly benchmark all our behaviours. They see us as Superheroes who are capable of doing everything and silently wish to become our replicas. Thus it’s very important for us set right examples for our kids. Do not overdo while advising. Put into practice yourself, you’ll find your child automatically following. Show the benefits of having a respectable online presence and that you’re willing to talk about what you’ve found online. Remember to limit your own screen time, filter out strangers, and be wary of emails from unknown email addresses.
The internet has enriched the lives of many children. With more children accessing the Internet, they are learning and growing more each day. Rarely does homework require long library visits. Thus, help your child use the cyber world appropriately so that it can be your child’s portal to achieve great things.