There was a time when people thought of the Internet as just another fad that would stay here for a while and vanish. Little did they realise that this fad was here to stay, and not just stay, it was here to DOMINATE!. Ever since then, the internet has turned the world upside down.
As of today, the internet is the most favourite place to hang out for anyone – If you are surrounded by people while reading this article, we request you to pause and take a look around, and we bet you, you’d at least find 1 person browsing the web! Well, that comes as no surprise.
However, what is surprising is that the internet is not just a place for adults to hang out, carry out business and socialise; a growing number of children have been actively using the web to browse content – games, educational videos, hooking onto trending videos, etc.
According to research, around 41% of children aged between 3 to 5 use the internet at home, compared with 57% of 6- to 11-year-olds and 71 % of 12- to 17-year-olds.
So what’s the concern?
While the internet is informative and connects us socially, it is also a dangerous place to hang out – particularly for children.
Let’s turn on our imagination powers and assume the Internet is a park. Tons of people visiting it. You send your children to play at this park every evening. Would you simply send them without warning them about not interacting with strangers, not going beyond certain areas, always being around the caretaker, returning home before dusk, etc.? We are sure you won’t because as a parent you cannot risk your child’s safety in the real world.
The internet is nothing less than a park – bullies, predators, cyber stalkers, child molesters, and inappropriate content are all available online 365/24/7 – then why would you not want to safeguard your child online?
We thought we should list these 5 tips to help you keep kids safe online:
Talk to your children about the Internet – Its pros and cons
Children today are exposed to hand-held devices at a very young age. If you think that talking about internet safety protocols at a young age would harm their mental thoughts or they are too young to understand it, you are wrong! Prevention is always better than cure and helping your children keep themselves on guard online will only benefit them from not falling prey to unwanted situations. Warn them about cyber bullies, malware, dangerous websites, and child molesters on social sites. Allow them to ask questions, and answer them. Keep a check on what they are reading, watching and who they are communicating with online. Carve it on their minds that the internet is not private. Do not make it seem like you are policing. Your children must know that you are looking out for them.
Set reasonable time and usage limits
Set reasonable rules about what your child can and can’t do when on the internet. For example, if they need to install a certain game, they probably should inform you first. Also, set time limits on their computer/phone use. Tasks like researching for study projects may not need time limits, but make sure you are monitoring it. Another tip, especially if you have children between the age of 3-18 at home, you should switch off the Wi-Fi at a set time each night so everyone has some ‘time-out’ from the internet.
Check your children’s browsing history
Check on the list of websites your child has been frequently visiting. Does something seem weird? Don’t waste time, talk to them directly. Let them know the dangers and the consequences. The approach of checking histories obviously gets harder as children grow older and learn how to clear histories. However, if you have kept the communication lines open from an early age, it will be much easier to tackle this situation. If your child is an active social media user, try and get to know their online friends, alert them on how the social media world works. And to do this, as a parent, you need to be well-aware of the social media world.
Show by example
Children are great imitators, hence you need to lead by example. If you are teaching your children to limit screen time, and yet you are the one doing it, they are not going to listen to you. Make sure to follow the same protocols as you teach them.
Innocent searches online can lead to not-so-innocent results, so it’s wise to know how to use trusted parental controls apps available in the market today. Kiddoware provides such parental control apps, which are both effective and discreet; and allows remote access and are very reliable. Parental controls apps can help prevent your child from viewing and accessing restricted content. Search for the best parental apps online or just download the apps provided by Kiddoware.
Lastly, you don’t want to instil unwanted or the wrong sort of fear in your child or prevent them from experiencing and learning from the many educational, entertainment, social website available. But rather teach them the skills on how to be safe online. If you suspect your kid is being victimized, make sure to contact the emergency local helplines.