The advent of the internet has made a vast amount of information accessible and at the tips of our fingers. Let’s admit it, the internet has enriched our lives in different ways we never could have imagined. In some ways, the internet has made our lives easier, more convenient and sometimes wonderful. However, like everything else in life, the internet has its downsides too. In fact, some aspects of internet usage can be dangerous for us and for our family members especially our kids. This is where the importance of internet safety comes into play.
Whenever our kids go online, they put themselves at risk of accessing inappropriate content, accidentally sharing personal information, cyberbullying, and more. While children need to be given the opportunity to explore and navigate the world through the internet, parents play a vital role in making sure our kids use the internet safely. Check out the following internet safety tips so your kids stay safe when going online!
Educate your kids
Young kids are the family’s weakest links when it comes to cybersecurity. Therefore, they need to be educated about how to use the internet safely and appropriately. Even though your children may be young, they need to be aware of the dangers that can come with improper use of some online platforms and the possible consequences if they are not careful. Make sure your child knows how important it is not to disclose personal information online such as names, phone numbers, address, parents’ place of work, names of their family members, and so on. When in doubt, tell your child to make sure he or she consults you and gets permission before entering any information online.
Remind children about the importance of privacy
With more and more websites and software gathering information for marketing purposes, be sure your kids are taught about the importance of privacy. Adults and kids alike can fall prey to accepting policies regarding sharing information without thoroughly reading the fine print. Don’t be lax, even if the settings are set to “private”. Once any of your personal information is shared online, you need to know that it is already stored somewhere. There’s always the possibility of having this information hacked. So it’s better to be safe than sorry.
While it’s okay that kids are given some liberty to have fun using their gadgets and electronic devices, parents should make sure there are rules established when it comes to the use of technology. Not only will this help ensure your child’s online safety. It will also reduce the likelihood of children becoming addicted to the internet.
When creating rules for your child, be specific about the hours they are allowed to go online, which websites they can visit, and the applications they are allowed to access. Don’t forget to designate “technology-free zones” around your home. This means that there should be specific areas or spots in your home where gadgets can’t be used.
Monitor your child’s online activities
As soon as your child learns how to access the internet, be sure to pay close attention to his or her online activities. When posting anything online or sharing information on a website, they need to know that they may never be able to “take it back”. Monitor your child’s online activities and the things they post on their accounts or social media profiles (if they’re allowed to have one.)
Also, do not allow your child to shop online unsupervised. He or she might accidentally enter credit card details and other pertinent financial data on an unsecured website.
Check your child’s browsing history
Another internet safety tip for kids you need to remember is periodically going through your child’s browsing history. This will help you stay informed of the websites they have been accessing as well as the ones that may randomly pop up. It is also a great idea to create a folder with shortcuts to the websites and applications they visit frequently. This way, they won’t have to manually search for these things in the browser, which is ultimately safer
Turn screen time into family time
Besides being a vast source of information, the internet is also a great source of entertainment. So why not make use of it to create some fun family bonding time? Instead of doing individual activities online, maybe you can play some family games online or stream some feel-good family movies? Not only is this a safer use of the internet; it also provides the perfect opportunity to connect as a family!
The internet has made our lives wonderful in many ways. However, it can also be a dangerous place for young kids if we aren’t careful. Make sure your child stays protected from the potential dangers of the online world by following these internet safety tips for kids.
For more tips to help guide you on your parenting journey, please view more helpful resources on our website, Imagine Nation Learning Center.