Internet Safety Tips for Kids
Much as the internet is a wonderful resource for children making lives easier when it comes to access to information, online access also comes with its own set of risks. Most parents are still reeling from the shock of knowing that there are games like the Blue Whale Challenge that can put the child’s life at risk. It is imperative therefore to have a robust plan in place to ensure internet safety for kids. Here are some rules that you can implement to ensure that child safety isn’t compromised
Begin the Conversation
An important aspect of ensuring internet safety for children, is to have a conversation with them early. The more aware the children are of the threats, the better they will be able to respond to them. An open line of communication with the children will ensure that they are able to reach out to you, should they find anything suspicious. In fact other than having a conversation with them you could also introduce them to resources and games online where they can easily learn to make smart decisions when faced with any of these threats. Odds are they will respond to these games positively without this feeling that are being talked down to. Other than this, use coachable moments to keep driving the message across in an effective manner. Educating them sufficiently about hackers and predators and some of the tactics that they use, can help the child recognize this kind of behaviour. It is imperative that you make it abundantly clear that they cannot meet anyone that they have met online, physically without parental supervision and that if anyone encourages them to do so, it should be brought to adult notice.
Teach them what is safe to share
An important internet safety tip for kids is to teach them what is safe to share online. Details of which school they go to, their id cards, copies of driving license for older kids are a strict no-no when it comes to sharing them over social media or any stranger online.
Keep the computer in a common area
It is always a good idea to have the computer in a common area where you can keep an eye on what they are doing as opposed to the computer being in their room and hence in a far more private setting.
Have control filters in place
Most browsers have parental control filters that allow you to create guidelines on what the child can view. Setting up a user profile for the child means that you can effectively block offensive content. You could also control how much time you want the child to spend on the net.
In implementing these guidelines, however, have an open communication with the child on why you are implementing them so the child does not feel that he is being monitored. Small steps such as these will go a long way in building honest communication and trust.
Cyber bullying is another damaging aspect that children often face online. Not only does it impact self-esteem, it can lead to anxiety and depression. Ensure you talk to the child about the many forms cyber bullying can take from damaging photographs to rumours. While teaching the child about cyber bullying, do keep yourself updated on what the warning signs could be, if your child is facing cyber bullying. They could range from the child appearing nervous, losing interest in day-to-day activities, becoming secretive and more.
Also ensure that the child does not in any form resort to cyber bullying him self. This could begin with seemingly innocuous behavior such as liking hurtful posts. It is important that the child knows that the values of empathy and kindness are as relevant in the online space as they are offline.
By following the above internet safety tips for kids you can keep them protected from three kinds of risks:
Risks that arise by way of encountering inappropriate content – This can include pornography, violence and more
Risks that arise from Contact– This includes coming in contact with or meeting antisocial elements
Risks that arise from conduct– This includes cyber bullying or other ways in which kids can hurt others as also being a victim of this kind of behavior.