Finally, you must communicate with your children about internet hazards in a manner that they will comprehend. The Internet offers real dangers to children and teenagers, but parents can assist them in making educated decisions that keep them safe online.
Here are some ideas for discussing Internet safety with your children.
- Set the Ground Rules
Before giving your children a computer or mobile device, have an age-appropriate talk about what they should and should not do.
First, restrict your online time.
When they’re not wasting time online, they’re less likely to end themselves in questionable areas of the internet.
Tell your children to consult you before disclosing personal information such as their names or addresses or communicating with anybody they encounter online. If they notice something that bothers or concerns them, they should immediately notify you.
Treating people online as they would like to be treated is an equally vital virtue to instill in your children. Anonymity on the internet may cause anyone, including children, to say terrible things they would not ordinarily say. They’ll be happier on the web if they contribute to making it a better place.
- Discuss how — and why — you want to monitor their online activity.
As your children become older and join social media, be open about monitoring what they post and why. Even youngsters may be unaware of the long-term consequences of their posts, or that the Internet never forgets. They should understand that you are watching out for them and not attempting to get them into trouble.
It can be difficult to tread a fine line between keeping your children secure and making them feel untrustworthy. Set limits and talk about scenarios where you might need to cross them.
If you discover that your monitoring method is producing issues, be willing to try something different. Remind your children that their safety is your top priority, but don’t be hesitant to offer them some independence as they get older.
- Discuss What’s Going on in Their Lives
Communication is critical in many aspects of parenting, especially when it comes to internet safety. This is because cyberbullying is similar to its physical equivalent. It’s typically something youngsters avoid discussing for fear of getting in trouble or losing Internet access.
Make it evident that you are interested in all aspects of your children’s lives. Make it clear to them that they may come to you with whatever troubles they are experiencing. Listen actively throughout frequent talks to show your children that you are always there for them, no matter what.
- Teach Children How to Take Action
Show your children that they can be proactive online by teaching them how to utilize the privacy, reporting, and blocking features of the websites they visit.
Older children may be more knowledgeable about the online world than you are. Make them the experts and have them demonstrate to you the security aspects of the sites they visit.
- Involve Kids in Decision-Making
Conversations regarding online safety, like all parenting conversations, should be learning experiences rather than one-sided lectures.
Inquire about their thoughts on what they’re seeing online and whether it’s possibly hazardous. If they disagree, ask why — and be ready to reply. Even if they don’t like the rules, children are more inclined to follow them if they feel they helped make them.
- Don’t Forget the Positive
It is vital that the Internet not be portrayed as a harmful place to be avoided at all costs.
Set the scene for healthy online conduct by discussing how the Internet may help with schooling and other interests. Children imitate their parents in a variety of obvious and subtle ways. Sharing examples of how you use the Internet properly may convey a far more powerful message than imposing rules and limits.
Internet Safety Tips for Children — Important Advice for Parents
Children today are growing up in a cyber-centric society. It is hard to avoid exposing youngsters to the Internet and all things digital. However, it is possible to keep them safe and minimize threats while also teaching them how to be safe online. It all begins with the appropriate plan, and these suggestions can assist.
To summarize, these are the most important lessons for keeping children safe online:
- Discuss with your children the various threats that they may encounter online.
- If feasible, move your children’s computers to a communal family room.
- Make computer use a family activity.
- Encourage your children to tell you about any internet experiences that distress or make them feel uncomfortable.
- Limit the content that may be accessed through the computer:
- Many Internet security solutions can assist you with this.
- Internet Explorer has a Content Advisor that might also be useful.
- Provide instructions that explain what your youngster may and cannot do on the Internet. For example, your instructions may state if your child is authorized to:
- Register with social networking or other websites
- Make online purchases
- Download music, video, or program files
- Use instant messaging programs
- Visit Internet chat rooms
- If your kid is permitted to use instant messaging and/or attend chat rooms, explain to them that it is risky to communicate with or send messages to someone they do not know and trust.
- Install the most recent security patches and upgrades for all of your devices when they become available. Your operating system, applications, and other software are all included.
- Install a strong antivirus application capable of protecting all of your family’s computers and mobile devices against dangerous malware and hackers. Many Internet security software programs combine antiviral capabilities with extensive parental control features, making it easier to keep your children safe while they’re online. Look for the following characteristics:
- Anti-spam filtering
- Phishing protection
- Parental controls
- Real-time web browsing monitoring
Rose .A. Milani,
Parent Coach and Registered Mental Health Counsellor
Based in Melbourne, Australia