In the digital age that we live in, as parents, the Internet has become both a boon and a bane. While it offers a plethora of benefits and a world of entertainment for children, it also comes with its dark side. Keeping your child safe on the Internet is the need of the hour. From cyber bullying to inappropriate content, there is a lot out there on the Internet. We may not have much control over when and what a child may go online for, but what we could do, is to ensure that they are safe. Here are a few tips that will help in protecting your child online.
It is essential for parents to educate themselves about the Internet and how the system works. As a parent, until you know what is out there, you will not be able to deal with. From the array of social media options to online gaming to even live chat rooms, the world out there is not just about information and entertainment.
As parents, we should all be aware of what our children hear or see on the Internet. It would be good, therefore, to ensure that your children access the net only under adult supervision. This is perhaps the best way to protecting your child online. Many times what you may think is harmless, may have a lot of inappropriate content that you will definitely not want your little one to see or hear for that matter. A good idea would be to have a dedicated time that your child can access the Internet. This way you can also limit screen time and can schedule the time based on your calendar.
It might be a good idea to start discussing online safety with your child from a very early age. Talking to your children openly about it helps them understand the reason behind your decisions. It will also help educate them about the dangers of the virtual world out there along with preparing them to face and manage online threats. Explain to them about ‘Personal Information’ and how it must never be shared with anyone. Let them know that if they are ever in doubt, then all that they need to do is reach out and talk.
Installing some filters to your laptop or tablet will help you a long way in protecting your child online. These security programs will filter and block inappropriate sites and content. There is nothing wrong in being overcautious if at the end of the day it means keeping your child safe on the Internet.
Explain to your child that they should follow the same rules when it comes to the online world as they would in the offline. For example, make your child understand that if they wouldn’t be comfortable talking face to face to a stranger, then, they should feel the same when it comes to someone on the Internet.
Enforce age-appropriate boundaries when it comes to keeping your child safe on the Internet. This will provide your child with a clear understanding of what’s safe and what’s not. To begin with, you can create an individual account for your child with high security and permissions. Protecting your children online takes a lot more than just tracking their devices. What is equally important is for us to engage in a healthy and open conversation with them. It is vital for us to realise that if we talk to our child regularly and keep the lines of communication open, then it gets a whole lot easier to control what can possibly go wrong. We all make mistakes and as a parent, what we must ensure then, is that if they do make a mistake, they need to be open about it with you, so that you can fix it at the earliest.
For all those parents out there who understand the perils of the internet, now is the time to start educating yourself on the Internet safety rules for children and make your child more aware of the big bad world out there. However, do remember, that in the process of protecting your child online, we must not take away from them, the simple joys of watching a great family movie online or the fun in buying their favourite toy from their favourite online store. After all, what good is technology anyway, if we can’t use it to add a little happiness to our lives!