Raising children in today’s world is much different than it was even a decade ago. Access to the internet starts at such an early age. With tablets, phones, computers, and even chatting through game system, the internet is actually at their finger tips at any given time! So how do you make the internet a safer place for your child?
Today’s guest poster, Hannah George, shares some of her best tips for being a parent in the 21st century!
Make Internet a Safer Place for Your Child
Agreed, the internet is a remarkable source of education for our kids but its dark corners have untold dangers lurking. The internet has hidden dangers that can damage the personality of the young and unwary. It’s not just bullies out there but online predators have spread their net all over the digital world and they are swapping tips on how to lure youngsters without getting detected.
On top of that, with sudden exposure to inappropriate content such as violent, racist, and sexually explicit material, children can download ransomware, spyware, and Trojans too. Our young bunnies sure are more tech savvies than us but they don’t know what dangers lie ahead of them online.
A different Generation
I remember when I was 10 and my parents got cable installed in our house. That large gray box sitting on top of the TV gave us access to lots of things that we didn’t have access to previously. Today, sexual predators, porn, cyberbullying is just one click and typo away. So, are you willing a chance?
Parents, it’s high time we get on our toes and instead of overreacting, set safeguards to protect our kids from the dangers.
But My Kids are too you to worry about how to stay safe on the internet?
Don’t chill like your kid is too young for all this. The stats say otherwise. A new study says 59% of children have already used a social network by the time they are 10 and 43% have messaged a stranger online by the age of 12. Wait, there is more. On average, a child’s first exposure to pornography is 11 years. Yes, it’s an alarming situation and you need to do something about it right now.
It’s not possible to supervise each and every click. The only solution is to talk to them about the online dangers and educate them about what’s best. Our kids are smarter than us and they can handle it. It’s basically like teaching them how to cross a road safely.
How to Make the Internet a Safer Place for your Child
Thinking about how you can educate your kids? Here are some great advice on how to make the internet a safer place for your child.
1. Be present, be involved
Sit down with your children as much as possible, especially when they are surfing the internet. Take this as an opportunity to develop a bond with them and teach them how to use the internet in a responsible way. Here are some examples: Set up the computer in a central location so that their internet usage can be supervised. Create a family agreement for internet use which should explain what sites they can access, how many hours of internet are allowed, and what sites are prohibited.
Instead of letting them play games alone, play with them. Model appropriate responses to success, failure and frustration. Teach them how to be polite, collaborative and respectful with expressing opinions.
2. Keep Their Online Activities Monitored
So you have got everything in control when you are around them, what about the time when you are not? Fortunately, you can still keep track of their online activities. You can install Xnspy on the tablets and mobile phones of your kids to monitor their online activities. No one wants to spy on their kids but a parent is got to do what a parent is got to do.
Your kid may already know how to delete the browsing history, so yeah, you will always find their gadgets clean. Xnspy is a great option to remotely check on their kids. Let them know you will monitor them and make them understand why. You can also control their web browsing and internet usage with Xnspy with features like app blocking, location alerts and more.
3. Be Open in Discussing About the Inappropriate Content
I hear you. You must be hesitant to talk about topics like pornography to your kid. It’s probably because you are unsure how your kid will handle this conversation. It’s best to address these topics as soon as possible. Your child deserves to know.
Give examples that help them understand what a healthy relationship looks like and when they are in the danger of being exploited. Talk to them about the unhealthy risks like using drugs or sending inappropriate photos. Let them know being pressured to keep a relationship secret and doing something that makes you uncomfortable is a sign that you are in a risky relationship and it needs to end right away.
Let your kid know about the grooming tactics online predators use to lure kids. Here are some examples that’s an invitation of something unhealthy:
Let’s go private
Meaning: Let’s move to instant messaging, phone or a private chat room.
Where is the computer in your house?
Meaning: The predators wants to know if your parents are around.
What kind of music do you like? What are your hobbies?
Meaning: The online groomer wants to know you better to understand what gifts to offer to you.
Would you like to get a modeling job?
Meaning: The predator is trying to flatter you and get you to cooperate.
You seem upset. Tell me what is bothering you?
Meaning: They are trying to get your trust by being sympathetic.
Where do you live? What is your phone number?
Meaning: They are trying to get your personal information. This usually happens after the target feels comfortable.
You are the love of my life
Meaning: The predator is trying to convince the target to cooperate.
4. Tell Them Bullying Is Never Acceptable
Parents need to accept the reality that many children experience online bullying and that too at a very young age. Explain it to your children that whether it is being bullied or bullying others, this behavior is not acceptable.
Let them know that when they encounter such behavior, they need to be able to talk about it. Statistics say that about 43% of the kids have been bullied online. One in 4 people say it has happened with them more than once. Set a one-on-one example of online bullying and show them how anonymous words can hurt and create fear. Teach them to use reporting and flagging systems to get rid of such people.
Preventive Measures to Share with Your Young Ones
Some other tips that all parents should be sharing with their kids are:
- If anything happens online that make you feel uncomfortable, tell an adult that you trust.
- Never reveal any personal information about yourself or your family to anyone alone.
- If someone asks too many personal questions or becomes sexually suggestive, stop any kind of chat, instant messaging conversations or email communication with them.
- Never agree to meet someone you have met online.
- Sometimes, what you are told online is not true.
- Never download images from an unknown source
Protecting your kid from the dangers of the internet is just like venturing into the enemy’s territory, but hey! If you are not going to do it then who will?
I am Hannah George, a parenting and tech blogger, coffee addict and full-time mom. I have a degree in Journalism and Modern Greek Studies from San Francisco State University. When I am not writing, I go out biking on long trails. I live in San Francisco with my 11-year old daughter and a pet cat Sushi.