The online world is a convenient yet vulnerable place. So while giving access to the internet to your kids, you might feel like having some control over what they digitally consume and how they react to digital media and social networking in general. Not every activity online is appropriate for kids.
Modern devices are so tempting that kids tend to force their parents to purchase them, and their convincing argument is valid since we all need to be online to stay alive.
There are risks associated with online access, such as inappropriate content, cyberbullying, and online predators. For example, predators may pretend to be a child or adolescent looking for a new friend by using apps and websites where kids interact. They may even encourage the child to exchange personal information such as their address and phone number or ask them to call them after seeing their phone number on caller ID.
Moreover, the covid-19 pandemic has changed most human routines, including the activities associated with kids like online classes, assignments, spending time with friends, gaming, etc. Nowadays, for almost every educational or recreational activity, kids are dependent on online sources.
Isolating your kid from getting any phone or computer won’t do any good for you or them. Besides parental protective instincts, it is essential to know that it is nearly impossible to isolate your kid from all devices and gadgets in this technologically driven economy.
Therefore, parents should monitor what their children see and hear on the internet, who they meet, and what information they share about themselves. Then, communicate with your children, use strategies to protect them, and monitor their activities further.
If you’re concerned about your children’s internet exposure, here are a few tips to help them stay safe when they’re online.
1. Keep a Look at Privacy Settings: Online predators are always looking for the users and IDs whose privacy settings are vulnerable. Not only cybercriminals, but it can also be a moment for creepy stalkers. Your public photos, information, and documents on social media sites can be a considerable risk.
If your child is a frequent social media user, they should be aware that posting personal information or images exposes them to public scrutiny. While they may not fully comprehend the implications of disclosing personal information online, you should teach them to be cautious and deliberate in what they post and share. Encourage your children to consider whether the data (e.g., name, phone number, home address, email, school name) or photo is something they would give to a stranger before posting it.
You can also ask your children to remove geotags from all the images they share with their online friends. In this way, the exact location of your child will never be disclosed.
2. Know Who Your Children Talk to Online: It might sound intimidating from children’s perspective, but you should know who they are befriending. If you have good communication with your children, they will surely share every bit and piece of their conversation with the online friend in front of you.
Ask your children politely for their new acquaintance’s name and other vital information like the city they live in, their surname, etc. Use Nuwber to verify their identity. If nothing comes up or the information doesn’t match after you put it in the search bar, there is something suspicious.
3. Spend Online Time with Your Kids Together: Let your children know that you trust them with everything they choose to do online. And at the same time, keep them engaged in some online activity on the family devices like television, an iPad that everyone uses, or a laptop you and your spouse share. In this way, supervision will become super easy, and you will never have to worry about your child being exposed to triggering or explicit content online.
4. Keep All the Devices Where it is the Easiest for You to Monitor: While most children become pretty much responsible as they grow up, some of them may have a rebellious nature. Therefore, it is great to put the computing devices somewhere where parents can monitor their children with ease without making them feel that you are an intervention in their privacy.
5. Be an Example: Children are excellent imitators. That is why they sometimes end up doing things that just aren’t right for them. It is important to note that children would do anything their parents would in their earlier stages of growth.
Schedule a timetable for online activities. Make a list of the online activities necessary for them, for instance, their assignments, tests. Let them use it till they finish their assigned task. After that, you can set a determined time for your children for recreational purposes, making sure they don’t get too much screen time.
Monitoring their exposure is an excellent way of keeping your children away from online addiction.
And not only that, you need to make a schedule for yourself too. Remember, if you are adamant about following an online activity schedule, so will your children. Your own online activities will encourage your children to follow in your footsteps.
Bottom Line: Keeping track of your children’s activities online takes a lot of time and effort. Nonetheless, it’s a good idea to keep track of who they’re talking to, where they go, and what they watch, read and download.
Teaching your kids safe and responsible habits would ensure both your children and also your protection against cybercriminals.
Most parents probably would have more than a few hours to spend with their children amidst lockdown in the pandemic. So it will be a great idea if you spend all this valuable time teaching your children how to use the internet safely.
Pay attention to your child and come to a deal about what is best for your family. Remember that there will come a time when they will need to use the internet outside of the monitoring and rules of their own home, and you want them to be ready for that.