5 Ways to Protect Your Child While They Are Online
You probably want more say over what your children do online if you have them. Consider the internet to be a large community without efficient law enforcement. This is where you come into play. Most families spend a lot of time at home, particularly now that there are health fears about COVID-19, a coronavirus-caused disease. Every at-home time equates to more hours spent online. For children, these can include education, homework, social interaction, television, and gaming. However, not everything online — or any online activity — is safe for children and teenagers.
Cyberbullying, predatory conduct, malware attacks, child identity theft, extortion, and other illegal activities have increased in parallel with the widespread use of the internet. All of these pose a significant risk to kids. Without a doubt, every parent's highest priority in a digital environment is ensuring their kid's safety.
What should you do? You can assist with managing online time and tasks in several ways.
Supervise every activity
The value of supervision cannot be overstated, particularly when exposing your child to the internet for the first time. It would also give you an excellent opportunity to spend time with your child and learn about their interests. And by navigating the internet world together, you can become more acquainted with cyberspace quicker and more comfortably. To begin, ensure you have access to their online accounts, including email and social media profiles. This should assist in monitoring their online search activities, the content they view, and the people they communicate with.
Remember that child abusers often pose as children to attract other children on social media and chat rooms. If they make new friends, use Nuwber to run a check on their names and phone numbers, if it’s available. It will present you with all the publicly available information on the person, then you decide whether to accept their friend request. It is also essential to provide an environment that facilitates monitoring. For example, instead of keeping the device in your kid's room, keep it in an open area. This will allow you to keep an eye on them when doing work around the house. Reduce the number of devices available to your children and restrict them from using tablets and laptops to access Wi-Fi as much as necessary.
Set rules about using social media
Social media can be demanding for teenagers. On the one side, it will aid in the strengthening of friendships. On the other hand, it can distract them from face-to-face engagement, induce low self-esteem, and subject them to cyberbullying. Social media has a wide range of effects. It can be useful to collaborate on a community project via Google meetings and reconnect with a new friend via Instagram. Scrolling through Snapchat for hours or engaging with Twitter trolls is rarely a good use of one's time. Discuss clever social media habits and the right ways for your children to use their devices for their benefit.
Encourage them to be mindful of how they feel before, during, and after using social media. Discuss what is making them feel good or bad. You may assist them in finding solutions, setting social media boundaries, and using privacy features and content filters. What else is there? You can set a clear example by not wasting too much time on your mobile.
It is also important to foster open conversations if your children have a question or are confused. Put them at ease so they can talk with you in a non-judgmental environment. It would help ensure that they contact you whenever they need clarity or advice rather than someone their age. It would also discourage misinformation and misguided messages from influencing their behaviors and actions in the virtual space. Creating a safe space for them to speak out would also assist you in identifying and dealing with cyberbullies and abusers before the situation worsens.
Your child's online world, like yours, is constantly evolving. How they interact with the internet and how their privacy can be impeded could change dramatically over time. For example, as children's online activities grew in response to the pandemic, there was a sudden surge in online child abuse last year. As lessons moved to online classes, cyberattacks took a similar turn. As a result, it is important to remain up to date to stay one step ahead of fraudulent actors who prey on children. This can include learning new skills, technologies, and tactics and keeping up to date on evolving vulnerabilities to children's online safety.
Stay informed by using news websites, newsletters, parent forums, and social media groups. They would be able to assist you in identifying possible risks, learning strategies and tactics to counter them, and learning essential activities to secure your child's presence online.
Install parental control tools
By tracking and supervising your child's online actions, parental control tools and applications should add a layer of protection and reduce your workload. They can, for example, restrict screen time across various devices, allow secure search and filter content, and even monitor your child's location. These tools can also track social media accounts, provide comprehensive reporting, and notify you of any events that need your attention.
As a parent, you must recognize that you can no longer keep your child away from the internet. For young children just beginning their online adventure, standing by them and guiding them in their new world is often a wiser option. Of course, a few basic guidelines will help as well.
Keeping track of what your children do online takes time and commitment. Nonetheless, it's a smart thing to stay on top of who they're communicating with, where they go, and what they consume and download. It's also a good idea to discuss internet usage and adhere strictly to the ground rules you set in place. The aim is to keep your children safe online while also training them safe and sensible internet habits. If you find yourself spending more time at home with your children, whether by intention or necessity, you will be glad that you took the time to guide them on safety practices on using the internet for their benefits.
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