With the rapid development of technology, the internet now has become so accessible
for almost everyone, including young children. This brings both positive and negative
impacts for them.
Children know that the internet is a magical tool which can answer their questions and
provide them with plenty of online games, endless videos, and places to meet people
from distant areas. However, little do they know about viruses, online privacy, phishing,
social networking etiquette, and any other internet safety and/or security issues.
Teaching them about online safety is primarily the parents’ jobs now and in the future.
You should start discussing it at an early age when your children still use shared
devices with you. Hopefully when they get older and use their own device, they will
know how to behave in the online world.
Below are six tips parents can do to keep their children safe online.
1. Have an open communication with your children
Once your children start accessing the internet, talk to them about what they do
online. Ask them what they read and watch, and who they communicate with
online. Don’t forget to emphasize that the online world and the real world are the
same and that there are both safe and unsafe things in and about these.
2. Teach them about privacy
You should let your children know that they shouldn’t share online anything
private such as their location, phone numbers, passwords, and banking numbers.
In socializing, you ought to remind them to communicate with people they know
well and to share photos carefully on social media. Ask them to beware of
strangers bearing gifts because they are usually dangerous people.
3. Use tools to protect them
There are a lot of online tools and softwares available both purchasable and free
which can help you limit or monitor your children’s internet usage. Make sure that
your device is also running the latest softwares and antivirus programmes and
that your privacy settings are on. Keep webcams covered when not in use. For
younger children, tools such as parental controls, including safe search, can help
keep online experiences positive.
4. Be present when they are online
Spending time online with them is a great opportunity to monitor and watch what
they are doing and who they are communicating with. However, you shouldn’t do
it too much otherwise your children will feel like you are spying on them. If you
can’t really be by their side, you can put the devices in a central place such as
the living room so that you can still keep an eye on what your children are doing.
5. Promote internet etiquettes
You should give this advice to your children: “If you wouldn’t do it face to face -
Don’t do it online” For example, would you go up to a complete stranger and start
a conversation? Would you be abusive to friends or strangers in public places?
You should make sure that your children understand social etiquettes when
interacting both in the real world and the online world. This would be a good
reminder to adults, too.
6. Give them good examples
Show the examples of good online behaviour that you want your children to use
on the internet. You should also give them examples of good behaviours in using
gadgets such as keeping appropriate distance with your screen, limiting your
screen time, and putting your devices in a safe place after you finish using them.
In the end, you don’t want to prevent your children from enjoying the benefits of the
internet, rather you can teach them how to be safe online so that they can get the most
out of it and avoid dangers.