Today, children often use the Internet for both learning and entertainment. The use of Internet technologies in education can give good results. But at the same time, the question arises: how to ensure the safety of the child in the network? If your children often use the Internet, you probably think about this question often.
Let’s consider 10 tips for parents that will help a child navigate the virtual world and maintain their own safety.
How parents and the school can together teach a child to use the Internet correctly
Little attention is paid to the safety of children on the Internet at school, so parents should also teach their children about it. If you don’t know how to do it, you are not alone. Today, many parents face a similar problem. This is due to the fact that modern parents in their childhood were not yet as exposed to Internet technologies as modern children are.
Digital technologies have largely changed the way we live, work, have fun, learn and communicate with other people. Modern children face them from an early age. For parents, this digital world sometimes seems like uncharted territory. You may even feel guilty, anxious, or confused when you see how much the Internet is affecting your child’s life.
You should not expect that the child will be fully taught online safety at school. However, it is important to establish a dialogue with teachers and follow a general strategy. Both parents and the school must be united in their position regarding the safe behavior of the child on the Internet. Such interaction will help not only to teach the child to use the Internet correctly, but also to prevent possible problems or solve them as they arise.
Adults can help a child learn responsible and safe behavior on the Internet, and for this it is not necessary to be experts in the field of Internet technologies. So, if you are not very good with gadgets or digital technology, don’t worry. Stay in touch with your child’s school teachers so you can develop a unified strategy for your child’s online safety.
10 tips for parents about child safety on the Internet
- Do not prohibit the child from using electronic devices
In the mass media, you can find many scary stories about the dangers of the Internet for children. However, due to the potential risks, it is impossible to allow a child to abandon Internet technologies that can be used for education and in the child’s personal interests. We live in a digital world, this is objective reality, and we cannot change it. We must remember that digital technologies can bring us great benefits if used correctly.
The risks of using the Internet can be minimized if all family members follow certain strategies. We will talk about this later.
- Be interested in how the child spends time on the Internet
Talk to your child about what he is interested in online. Be interested in her hobbies and sometimes spend time on the Internet together: watch video book, do creative work, etc.
Make sure you know what your child’s favorite programs and sites are. Familiarize yourself with their content and try to understand what they teach the child.
- Remember that you are responsible for your children
Remember that in any case you remain the parents of your children and are responsible for them. Set limits for the child, use parental control programs, with which you can block sites that do not correspond to the age of the child. But even using such programs, remember that they do not solve all problems.
- Establish rules for the whole family
Discuss with family members the rules for using electronic devices and the Internet. They must be observed not only by the child, but also by all family members. Allow the child to participate in the discussion of the rules and offer his ideas.
In the rules, you can define the places where electronic devices can be used (for example, in bed, at the table, etc.). Also agree that electronic devices cannot be hidden. This will help you keep your child safe online.
- Teach your child about online privacy
Tell the child how important it is to keep personal information secret and not advertise it on the Internet (on social networks, blogs, forums, etc.). Personal information includes first and last name, address, phone number, passwords and date of birth.
In addition, there are certain topics that should not be discussed on the Internet. You should not express a personal opinion on any issues, distribute other people’s personal data, etc. This list can be continued. Talk about it with your child and share your experience.
- Teach your child to think critically on the Internet
Explain to the child that not everything he reads and sees on the Internet is true. Today, in order to find the necessary information on the Internet, a person must wade through a large amount of informational garbage and distractions. Children need time to understand this, so they need your guidance.
- Always remain open to the child
It is very important to regularly talk to your child about what he is doing online. Encourage your child to tell you if they have any problems online. Talk to her about what to do if she encounters something online that worries her (like shutting down the site, reporting to you, etc.).
Reassure your child that you will not punish or ban them from using the Internet if they have any problems online. Child psychologists generally do not recommend using electronic devices as encouragement or punishment. Otherwise, the child will not tell you about his problems for fear that he will be punished.
- Maintain balance
Encourage the child to allocate his personal time: not only to sit on the Internet, but also to play, to be physically active, to devote time to his hobbies, etc. Be careful that excessive time at the computer does not lead to health problems (for example, to disorders of posture, vision, hearing, etc.).
Today, child development experts talk a lot about the fact that frequent computer use is harmful. However, there is no unequivocal answer to the question: how long can a child sit at the computer. It all depends on what exactly the child does on the Internet. Creativity and learning online is definitely more beneficial than passively watching videos.
Also, using the Internet at appropriate times is much more beneficial than using it at night or when the child has to do something else (eg eat, study, etc.). Therefore, sometimes it is possible to allow the child to spend longer on the network in his free time, so that he is not tempted to do it at other times.
- Pay attention to age restrictions
Many popular Internet services (such as YouTube, Instagram, etc.) contain content that is age-restricted. These restrictions exist to ensure the safety of the child.
Do not allow your child to register on sites that are not suitable for his age. If the content is appropriate for her age, make sure that she respects the privacy of her personal data and that no one else has access to her account.
- Engage in self-education
There are many online safety materials and training courses available online today. Study them to understand this issue. The point is to set a good example for your child in terms of Internet safety. Children notice all our Internet habits. Therefore, it is important to limit the time we spend online, to follow safety rules, etc.
The Internet and digital technologies improve our lives in many ways. What used to seem unattainable can be done with ease with the help of the Internet. Today, we have much more opportunities to communicate, learn and develop. However, we don’t want the Internet to compromise a child’s basic needs, such as sleep, real-world interaction with peers, physical activity, nutrition, and play. This is an axiom: despite the fact that our lives have changed a lot with the advent of the Internet, basic human needs remain unchanged.
Come up with strategies that will help your child use the Internet without harming his development and healthy habits. Of course, in some cases Internet technologies contribute to this. For example, with the help of Skype, you can communicate with relatives who live in another city, and with the help of applications, you can learn foreign languages or engage in creativity.
As long as the Internet does not endanger a child’s safety and basic needs, it can benefit children. Let’s help our children in this.