The Internet is ruling the world. The whole world is dependent on it. Especially during this pandemic period, the internet acts like a window through which we remain connected with each other.
With the help of the internet, the education sector, employment and offices thrived. Then how come, children of the present generation, especially during these difficult times stay away from the internet?
It is impossible to do so. It is not easy to keep kids away from it as the children are getting addicted to its glaring features. But as a parent, responsibility abides on us to keep them safe from the seamy side of the internet. But how to do so?
Let’s look into the ways to keep them safe-
Step into their cyber world
Parents must get involved in their internet world. Just keep a check of what your child is searching for the most, know the apps they are using, & even block or report people who apparently seem to be trying to cause a nuisance.
It is necessary for parents to apply their parental control if the need arises. If your child looks to be secretive about any online habits or if they are being cyberbullied, be on alert as it is your responsibility
Set house rules
Set rules inside your house, mentioning the time children are allowed to surf the internet. Make a shortlist stating which sites they may visit and which are not.
House rules may say that the children are allowed to use the internet half an hour a day or 2-3 days a week. By introducing such rules, the children will eventually get accustomed to them.
Talk openly to your child
As soon as your child begins to use the internet, start a conversation with them about what they are reading, watching, or connecting with.
Ask them to write down the name of the apps, the sites they are visiting. Try to spend time together with your child when he is on the internet, watch the sites together. Talk to your child if you find anything different. Teach them the proper things.
Listen to your child about what they are thinking about something and make them aware of the appropriate behaviour, choice they need to carry to maintain their own safety and security.
Keep screens and devices within your eyesight
Always keep supervision when your child is online. Keep the computer in a central position where you can monitor your child and can keep an eye on what he is viewing online and what activities he is up to.
You can set passcodes without their knowledge so that they cannot go online without your permission. Agreed with them for no tablets, laptops should be in the bedroom.
After their online activities get over, check what browser histories, the sites they have visited. However, this cannot be possible for older children, as they will learn the process of clearing the histories. In such situations, communication is the only way out.
Know your children’s online friends
Try to include yourself within your child’s social media circles, to monitor his posts. As children get older, they will try to unfriend you, but make them understand about the different scandals that take place.
Make your child aware that people do not disclose their actual identity while chatting on the internet. So they should not get fooled by fake identities. Discuss the various cyber crimes and cyberbullying.
So along with using the internet, they need to be wise in making decisions and not to fall into difficult situations.
Keep the family’s digital footprint private
Teach your child that every picture and personal detail that are shared in social media gets shared publicly and it can be used in various illegal or explicit ways which he may not have expected or imagined.
The pictures, posts contribute to someone’s digital footprint, which he may save for later use. For this reason, children need to be smart and careful while posting pictures or information.
So, your child should control their urge to share and post pictures. They should remain confined within their private group rather than posting in the public. They should be selective and use privacy settings on social media platforms.
Teach your child to keep their location private.
Most apps, networks, and devices come with geo-tagging features which makes everyone know about your whereabouts and can use this feature to directly come into your contact.
These features should be turned off for privacy and safety purposes. Digital photos also carry metadata, i.e information about time, date, etc which expose your personal data more than you want to reveal.
Some standard social media platforms take care of privacy but not all. So before sharing information, learn about the privacy policies of every platform.
Be Social Network Savvy
As a parent, educate yourself first on the ways to be safe on social networks and then you can advise your child. Sign up for the social networks and apps your children are using.
Find out the use of privacy settings and teach your child about the same. If your child is using social networks, be sure of the following:
- Report immediately against any offensive posts.
- Block someone.
- Learn to keep information private.
- To be aware of the perpetrators, the victims and the ongoing crimes.
Don’t talk to strangers
This is the most important advice every parent must teach to their child. Every day, youngsters come into contact with a large number of strangers when playing online games with friends or conversing on social media.
But they should be taught that cybercriminals are present in chat rooms, and in every social space. They hide their identity to trick children to get personal information.
To keep our child safe from the internet, the above-mentioned points should be considered carefully and most importantly making the child cautious about the crimes and teaching them ways to keep themselves safe.