Internet is an enormous source of information and a great way to communicate with people all over the world. However, despite the opportunities it offers, it also creates some dangers. Children are especially at risk: even though they usually have more knowledge about the Internet than their parents, they also tend to have more problems distinguishing the online world from the reality and identifying potential threats. In today’s post we will provide you with 6 easy tips that will help you increase the safety of your children online.
Why is it so important to address the issue of online safety?
– 38% of children on Facebook are 12 or under
-17% of parents do not monitor their children’s activities on social media platforms
Other findings raise even more concerns: The 2010-2011 School Crime Supplement (National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics) stated that 9% of students in grades 6–12 were victims of cyberbullying.
What can parents do to make the Internet usage for kids as safe as possible?
1. Gain knowledge – familiarize yourself with the most popular sites, social media platforms and tools that can be used to increase the online safety. Here are a few resources that might help you:
FOSI – a site about digital parenting with great articles on online safety
COPPA – Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule
Safekids.com – a blog about digital safety with lots of articles, guides and tips on how to stay safe online
2. Protect your computer: there are several software products available that block inappropritate time websites or restrict the time your child spends online. In case of smaller children, secure your device with a password.
3. Teach responsibility to your children. Talk with them about dangers of the Internet. Explain why it is dangerous to share too much information on social media, share personal information with stranagers or arrange meetings with them. Let them know about the concept of digital footprint – not everything they post can be removed. Try to cover the following topics
– talking to strangers – tell them they should not talk to or accept files from people they don’t know, just like they are not supposed to in real life
-sharing infromation on public profiles like name, address or their photos
– creating a safe password – picking a password that will be difficult for others to guess
– dealing with spam/opening suspicious attachments
Also, don’t consider it as one-time conversation that you can tick off from your list of topics to cover with your child. Instead, make it a habit to chatt about the dangers of the Internet on a regular basis.
4. Be present in their online life. Befriend them on most popular social media sites, check what sites they visit or what they download. In that way it will be easier for you to monitor their activities online.
5. Create bookmarks on safe sites that your kids enjoy – your child will have a collection of sites that you approve and it decreases the chances they may stumble accross inappropriate contect.
6. Finally, instead of just imposing bans, try to be reasonable and supportive. Some kids fall into the traps of the Internet, because they don’t have any role model around. Establish good contact with your children, so that they won’t look for support somewhere else online.
Thanks for reading and see you next week!
Magdalena| Appetite For Education
P.S. If you are interested in more information on applications or you are looking for one for your child, subscribe to our newsletter to read more interesting articles in the future!