Not many parents today understand the necessity of proper digital education aimed to show children how to behave online and avoid dangerous situations that take place more often than we could expect. Today even toddlers have access to the Internet and sometimes even without parents’ permission or supervision. The situation with kids on the Web becomes more dangerous than ever because elders underestimate the role that the Internet plays in modern kids’ life.
American Academy of Pediatrics states that parents of toddlers and children up to 10 years have to fulfil certain responsibilities:
- Use content filtering tools and keep an eye on the children when they browse the Internet.
- Surf through the Internet together with children, showing what behavior is appropriate online.
How to be up-to-date with all technologies and keep up with kids who are often more tech-savvy than their parents?
1. Always learn!
Knowing current relevant information is a must when it comes to learning the basics of the Internet and further drill through the details of the online life. Learn the topic from all sides, whether it is a software, a device, a social media platform or some kind of site, app or chat rooms. To find out the ways to protect children in a certain web environment, first, figure out how this environment works and what are its functions. The sources of information are various: talk to other, more experienced parents, read articles, study with your children.
2. Better sooner, than later
Do not be afraid and don’t neglect the talks with your children about the Internet safety. Discuss with kids what they like and want to do on the Internet and visit their favorite sites together. That makes your family bonds stronger, and your relations become more trustworthy. More than that, during such safety talks, teach your children to:
- carefully select and post photos. Personal photos should remain personal!
- inform you whenever kid receives messages that make him feel uncomfortable in any way;
- never respond to such messages;
- tell parents about people kids meet online;
- agree to meet online friends in person only in case if parents are with them;
- never share the password with someone except parents;
- always think twice about posting or saying something online.
3. Kids should know the essentials of personal information protection
Too much personal information online may attract identity thefts and online predators. Always highlight that you will help kids to protect them from the Internet dangers, but they have to do a significant part of the job themselves by keeping personal information in secret.
4. Control kids’ surfing the Internet
No one expects you to sit behind the kid and watch what he is doing online. However, the sense of your monitoring online activities will help kids in avoiding many troubles. For example, you can place family PC in the common space where you can see the screen.
5. Use parental control software
Remote monitoring and content filtering can lend a helping hand to parents who have no possibility to supervise kid’s online activities in person.
6. Social media and chats are the hunting grounds of online predators
Always think in advance what sites your kid will visit and what restrictions you would apply.
7. Children can also browse the Internet at school, mind that
Gather information about means of protection the school has.