As parents we will always be concerned about our children’s online safety. The internet provides tons of opportunities for kids. There are plenty of good resources where they can learn from. But it also a dangerous place when their usage is not monitored. For ex, identity theft, online grooming, cyber bullies and many more.
To me the benefits and opportunities of technology outweighs the risks. Hence, I would not stop kids from using the net. But the busy world we live in today make it very hard to monitor their every step online.
As much as I would like to control what they do online it is almost impossible to know it all. Also, monitoring their each click is not a good way to build trust with children. It may suffocate them.
Here’s a few ways to reduce the chances of kids getting into troubles online.
Set rules on how long kids are allowed to spend time online, sites allowed to visit and where they can browse.
When I first had a computer at home, about 20 years ago, I remember it was being placed in a common area in the house.
Those days there was MIRC and ICQ where you can chat to strangers online. My parents are not tech savy and did not know what those platforms are. But everytime they pass the computer they would ask me what I was doing and would ask me to open the windows.
Having the computer placed in the living room prevented me from chatting to strangers online or even opening sites I shouldn’t be on.
If you have older kids then restrict their phone usage at night in their bedroom. Have a storage and charging place in your home where all cell phones are kept at night time. If you have preteens here are few internet safety tips.
Children especially teens will not open up so much to you as to what is happening in their life. They might not inform you about what they do online or bullying message they may have received.
The best indication you may have is to pay attention if there is a change in their behaviour. If your child is being bullied, don’t jump into confronting the bully. This may make it worst for your child.
Screenshot the messages being sent to your child and save it. Show it to the right authorities, including your child’s school and police if needed.
Inform your kids to keep their social media profile private. Do not share information on their location, telephone number, school address and email.
Every now and then do check their social media profile to know if their information is still private. Turn off location setting on their mobile phone so they do not ‘check-in’ every time the post online.
Don’t forget to stay safe online