The use of the internet has become popular amongst kids. We live in a digital age whereby 80% of children by the time they are 11 years old can access the internet.
The internet has pros and cons to the user. Research has shown that access to the internet improves one’s communication skills and develops intellectual capacity. However, the internet poses plenty of threats to online kids, including cyberbullying, intimidation, inversion of privacy, and harassment.
This has made it very necessary for parents to protect their online kids from possible threats. When they are online in this 21st century, protecting children can never be easy without having adequate knowledge about the internet. The article aims at enriching the parents with the ability to help preserve their online kids when online. In the following paragraphs, I will be discussing the various methods that parents can use to protect their children while online.
Parental controls refer to a set of instruments and software that parents can use to regulate internet use by online kids. When protecting your online kids, there are three types of parental control levels that you should be well familiar with:
- Device controls-these are devices inbuilt on the device that the online kid is using. As a parent, you should ensure that your kid’s phone and laptops have these controls.
- Platform controls– these are controls that are inbuilt in the application that the online kid is using. They may be inbuilt on applications such as Chrome and YouTube.
- Network-level control– these are controls that apply to all devices such as smartphones and computers connected to a given router.
The following are some of the ways in which parental controls will protect your online kid:
- Parental controls set the limits of duration that your online kids can use the internet. They therefore help the online kids manage their time on critical activities such as learning.
- Parental controls also regulate the time of the day that the online kid can use the internet.
- They restrict the information the online kid can access.
- They sieve and block information that you do not desire your online kid to view, such as pornographic content.
- Regulate the content that your family members can access and share as per your requirements.
Offering online education to your kids
Parents should start explaining online dangers to their online kids at an early age. They should inform them about the online risks that may occur and how to overcome such troubles. Some of the critical issues that you should consider discussing with your online kids include:
- Internet fraud and scams. The internet has diverse people, and not all of them are trustworthy. Online kids should, therefore not befriend all people as some of them are fraudsters.
- Harmful website. These include a website that uses dangerous languages and those that advocate for violence.
While educating your online kids, consider setting rules that the children should adhere to when online. The parent should be clear on what the online kid can do or cannot do when online, places where they can access the internet, the website that they can visit, content that they can share and the amount of time they can use while online.
Some of the rules that parents can set for their online kids include:
- Do not chat with strangers.
- Only befriend people that you know.
- Never give feedback to insulting or bullying messages.
- Never expose your details such as your phone number, social security number, or home address.
- Never hook up with strangers.
- Minimum number of hours that the online kid will access the internet.
How to use the first smartphone to teach on online safety
75% of kids are always anxious and very expectant about their first smartphone. Most of them have a list of the things they want to do with their first smartphone. These makes the first smartphone that you will purchase for your kid an avenue to discuss online safety. The smartphone comes with its pros and cons, and parents should clarify their intention and expectation on phone use to their kids. Before giving your child, ensure that they understand that a smartphone is a personal device and sharing can expose their personal information. At this stage, you should also install parental controls on the phone to limit access to a dangerous site. Finally, make sure that you have checked the phone’s privacy setting and make sure that pop-ups are blocked, and automatic connections are disabled.
Evaluate, track and restrict your kid’s online activities
Parents should put effort into finding out what online kids are doing to ensure their safety. They should track their online kid’s activities by frequently checking the history of their device browsers. Browsers keep track of the sites that have been visited. Therefore, parents will use the information acquired from the browser to educate their children on the dangers of the website that they may have seen. The use of browsers acts as a quick check and monitor to online kid’s behavior. However, nowadays, online kids are brilliant and will often delete the history of their browsers.
The best alternative to find out what your kid is doing when surfing online is to talk to them and ask them what sites they visit while online and what they do when online. Siblings always have close bonds, and you can therefore use older kids to monitor the younger ones. Encourage them to educate the younger online kids about the harmful website, and the dangers they can cause. Parents should also find opportunities where they can serve the internet together with their kids. They should show them that they are good online friends. Parents should also encourage and promote laptops and phones in the household where they can easily monitor what their online kids are doing.
The best weapon that parents can use to fight online bullying and risks is to use the internet. Parents should have adequate knowledge of the internet and its advancement. They should be up to date with the new games, apps, films, and social media innovations to understand internet safety for kids.
Parents should check the content consumer by their kids and determine whether they are suitable for their online kids. Moreover, parents can install safe search engines such as kid search or even activate secure search settings on Chrome and Youtube.
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