Kids these days are growing up in a different age. Their world is filled with things many of us could not have dreamed of at their age. While it is an exciting time to be a child and grow up in a world full of technology, it is important for parents to be involved, especially when it comes to the internet. The internet is a place full of great information, fun games, and more, but it can also turn into a place filled with inappropriate content, online bullies, and other negative things. Here are some things you can do in order to keep your child safe online.
Step Into Their World
The best thing you can do for your child and their safety online is to be present. It’s important that you’re there watching or observing for the majority of the time when they’re really young. Once your child reaches 7 or 8, they should be able to make smart online viewing decisions without the constant supervision, but you still need to be regularly checking in on them. Positioning yourself as someone who is there to help and answer questions will allow you to have open and honest conversations about your child’s online habits.
An important way to keep your kids safe online is to set boundaries. This can include things like time limits online, times of day when your child can be online, installing parental controls, setting up the computer in a central area so you can easily keep an eye on what they’re doing, and more. Setting boundaries will ensure that your child is not holed up in their room all day browsing the internet. It allows you to have some control and make sure you’re there to supervise.
Communicate Basic Internet Rules and Etiquette
Just like in the real world, the internet world has basic rules and etiquette that are to be followed. As an adult, some of these rules may seem like common sense, but it’s important to clearly communicate them to your children who are just learning how to navigate the world wide web. Common Sense Media has a great list of internet guidelines you should talk to your child about:
- Follow your family’s rules about when and where to use the Internet.
- Be polite, kind, and respectful.
- Understand a website’s rules, and know how to flag other users for misbehavior.
- Recognize “red flags,” including someone asking you personal questions such as your name and address.
- Never share your name, your school’s name, your age, your phone number, or your email or home address with strangers.
- Never send pictures to strangers.
- Keep passwords private (except from parents).
- Never open a message from a stranger; it may contain a virus that can harm a computer.
- Immediately tell an adult if something mean or creepy happens.
The Internet is a great place for kids to explore and learn. With these safety tips, hopefully, you and your child can enjoy the internet together in a safe way.