Parenting is difficult. We know this all too well! Some say that it was easier back when technology wasn’t as prevalent as it is today. Others say that the technology at our fingertips today makes parenting our children all the more difficult.
Even so, the internet is a valuable resource, not just for us but for kids as well! This is even more pertinent now than before, with extended periods of online learning due to intermittent lockdowns as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
While being online is essential now for children’s learning, we can’t stop them from being online outside of classroom time. The digital world is a part of our reality now, intertwined with the way we live, think, and interact.
For parents, however, our concern is that our kids are safe, both in the physical world and in the digital world. Read on for top tips to keep your kids safe while they’re using the internet and engaging online.
Learn About Your Kids’ Online World – Internet Safety Advice
As with everything in your child’s life, take an interest. By taking a genuine interest in what they’re doing, their habits like and dislikes, you’ll get to learn a lot about the individuals that they are in their own right.
Become familiar with the platforms that your kids use regularly – and make sure that you keep up with the trends that are popular among their peer group.
It helps you to become aware of both the benefits and dangers of their online worlds. This also helps you to build trust with your kids, ensuring that they’ll come to you if they’ve ever encountered any issues.
Don’t Forget – You’re in Charge
It’s easy to sometimes let your authority as a parent slip in favour of being liked or remaining on your child’s good side. Remember, you’re the parent, not a friend. Create boundaries and ensure that your kids respect them and abide by them while they’re using their devices – both while online and offline.
Consider using filtering software with parental control so that your kids are not able to access content that’s too mature for their sensibilities. At the same time, remember to use this within reason, while guiding them about why certain sites or apps are blocked and can’t be accessed by your kids.
Communicate with Your Kids Regularly
There’s a fine line here between being an overbearing parent and a caring parent who is looking out for the wellbeing of their kids. Make a point of talking to your child and be open with them about the online world. That way, they’ll be open with you about their habits and new phenomena, trends, and crazes that are happening in their corner of the internet.
Keep the lines of communication open so that they feel that they can speak to you if there’s ever a problem that they encounter online. This follows from what we mentioned earlier about building a relationship of trust with your kids.
If ever something were to occur, let your kids know that their devices will not be confiscated. If you do, you risk the possibility of children keeping problems to themselves for fear of punishments, even if they were not the ones at fault.
Curiosity Is Natural – Don’t Be Too Critical
We should remember what it was like to be kids ourselves! Curiosity is a natural part of growing up and motivates learning, creativity, and problem-solving. It’s normal for kids to come across mature or adult material online – sometimes even with filters or parental controls.
On the other hand, a child may even look up such topics intentionally. As humans, things become even more fascinating if you know that they’re taboo! If this were to happen, use moments like this as an opportunity for discussion.
At the end of the day, it’s your responsibility as a parent to guide and teach your children. Try to be realistic in your expectations of how your kids use the internet.
Don’t Ban Technology
As previously mentioned, the internet and digital world is a part of our lives and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. The media is full of horror stories about the risks of using the internet for children (and adults, for that matter).
Yet, the internet can enrich our lives and the lives of our children, as we’re sure you’ve noticed while bringing kids up today! Don’t let potential problems stop your kids from benefiting from all the good things that the web has to offer.
Take the good, learn about the bad, and try your best to keep your family safe by educating them on how to use technology responsibly instead of depriving them of it entirely.
Encourage Your Kids to Be Careful about Disclosing Personal Info
The physical world and the digital world can overlap and that’s an increasingly real part of life today. Keep your kids safe both online and offline by letting them know the dangers of letting people know too much about their lives.
This is especially true on social media and other interactive apps, forums, and platforms. Teach your kids not to give out their name, phone number, or photo without approval from you.
If your kids use social media, check on their privacy settings and ensure that they’re turned all the way up. Also, find out who your kids communicate online. If your instincts tell you that something is off about a certain user interacting with your child, look them up on Nuwber using any information you have.
That way, you’ll be able to find out who the person really is and make a decision about what to do about it.